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Putin Pessimistic on Missile Defense Problem

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The missile defense dispute between Russia and the United States will not be resolved regardless of whether President Barack Obama will be re-elected in November, Russian President Vladimir Putin said.

The missile defense dispute between Russia and the United States will not be resolved regardless of whether President Barack Obama will be re-elected in November, Russian President Vladimir Putin said.

“The United States has been following the path of creating its own missile defense for more than one year, and I do not see anything that could change its approach,” Putin told journalists following the G20 summit in Los Cabos, Mexico.

Putin said the situation would change only if the United States agreed to build the missile defense system jointly with Russia and the European Union.

“This means all three participants would jointly be building that system, and would be able to jointly assess threats, manage that system and make decisions on its use,” he said.

“But this does not mean we are unable to agree on some fragments of that joint work. I think it is possible,” Putin said.

Russia and NATO agreed to cooperate on the so-called European missile defense system at the Lisbon summit in November 2010. NATO insists there should be two independent systems that exchange information, while Russia favors a joint system with full-scale interoperability.

Russia has retained staunch opposition to the planned deployment of U.S. missile defense systems near its borders, claiming they would be a security threat. NATO and the United States insist that the shield would defend NATO members against missiles from North Korea and Iran and would not be directed at Russia.

Moscow insists it should receive legal guarantees from Washington that its European missile defense shield will not target Russia's strategic nuclear forces.

Russia’s military and political leaders have repeatedly warned their western partners that if talks fail, Moscow may take a series of measures including deployment of Iskander short-range nuclear-capable ballistic missiles in the Kaliningrad exclave.

 

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