Russia is expecting a reply from NATO to its proposals on building a European missile defense system, and will have to deploy a nuclear missile grouping if no agreement is reached, President Dmitry Medvedev said Monday.
"Our partners should realize that we need this not to play games together with NATO but for Russia to be properly defended. This is my duty as president..." he said at a meeting with Russia's envoy to NATO Dmitry Rogozin.
"We expect a direct and unambiguous answer from our NATO partners - where they see Russia's place [in the system of the European missile defense]," Medvedev said.
Russia and NATO agreed to cooperate in the creation of a joint missile defense shield in Europe during a NATO-Russia Council meeting in Lisbon in November last year. The parties agreed to formulate terms for missile defense cooperation by June 2011.
"Either we agree on certain principles with NATO and create a joint system to resolve missile defense tasks, or we do not agree, and then we will have to make a number of unpleasant decisions in the future regarding the deployment of a strike nuclear missile grouping," Medvedev said.
Moscow has long opposed the deployment of NATO missile defense facilities near its borders, claiming they would be a security threat and destroy the strategic balance of forces in Europe.
The United States scrapped earlier plans in September 2009 for an antimissile defense system in the Czech Republic and Poland. Moscow welcomed the move, and Medvedev said later that Russia would drop plans to deploy Iskander-M tactical missiles in its Kaliningrad Region, which borders NATO members Poland and Lithuania.
GORKI, January 24 (RIA Novosti)