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    NATO Missile Defense Not Targeted at Russia: Senior US Official

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    NATO Seeks Expansion to Eastern Europe (362)
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    A senior US arms control official announced that the NATO ballistic missile defense system is aimed at defending US allies against a limited number of ballistic missile strikes from rogue groups or states such as Iran and North Korea and not targeted at Russia.

    WASHINGTON, November 19 (Sputnik) — The NATO ballistic missile defense system is not targeted at Russia and aims to improve regional stability, a senior US arms control official said.

    "Limited ballistic missile defense capabilities are not capable of threatening Russia's strategic nuclear forces and are not a threat to strategic stability," Under Secretary for Arms Control and International Security Rose Gottemoeller said Tuesday during a speech in Romania, where a missile defense site will be completed in 2015.

    Gottemoeller pointed out the limited scope of the missile defense system, which US officials say is aimed at defending US allies against a limited number of ballistic missile strikes from rogue groups or states such as Iran and North Korea, would have no impact on Russia.

    Ground Based Interceptors (GBI), designed to shoot down ballistic missiles, are deployed to take down incoming ballistic missiles. The US currently has 30 deployed in Alaska and plans to deploy 14 additional interceptors.

    "Technologically, GBIs cannot counter Russia's sophisticated Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) capabilities and countermeasures," Gottemoeller said, noting that no missile defense system would be able to prevent even a fraction of Russia's nearly 1,600 warheads from striking their target.

    Under NATO's planned missile defense system, radars and interceptors will be placed in phases in several NATO countries, including Romania, Turkey, Spain and Poland. The defense shield will also be bolstered by the sea-based systems.

    Russia has been saying the missile defense shield could undermine the strategic nuclear balance between the United States and Russia.

    NATO Seeks Expansion to Eastern Europe (362)


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    NATO, ballistic missiles, Ground Based Interceptors (GBI), missile defense, United States, Russia
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