Russia will hold partner-like dialogue on missile defense with Western countries if it has guarantees that the missile shield is not directed against it, President Vladimir Putin said on Friday.
“We are constantly being told that the missile defense system is not directed against Russia. We would like to receive military and technological guarantees fixed in legally binding documents,” Putin told journalists after talks with his French counterpart Francois Hollande in Paris.
“Only then will we be able to feel safe and hold normal partner-like dialogue,” he said.
“Statements like ‘don’t be afraid, we promise that nothing will happen’ are clearly insufficient in the modern world. This is childish. We need guarantees and serious agreements in the security sphere,” Putin said.
He added that he hopes constructive dialogue with France and other NATO members is possible.
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’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.