US and NATO officials claim that the European missile defense is meant to protect Washington and its European allies against ballistic missile threats from rogue states. Apparently, the White House still classifies Iran as such. But Russia views the EPAA in the context of NATO's increased assertiveness in Eastern Europe and the Baltic region.
"European missile defense system undermines strategic stability in its traditional sense. This is why Russia has repeatedly voiced its opposition to the initiative," Dmitry Suslov, program director at the Foundation for Development and Support of the Valdai Discussion Club, told Gazeta.ru. "We need to establish international legal framework in order to prevent relations between Russia and the United States from being ruined."
Deputy Director of the Moscow-based Institute for US and Canadian Studies Pavel Zolotarev told Gazeta.ru that the European missile defense system in Spain would not pose a threat to Russia. These ships, according to the political analyst, lack technical capabilities to hit targets in Russia. Moscow should not be concerned with Obama's visit to Spain.
Activists are reported to be getting ready to hold protest rallies, chanting slogans "Obama, go home" and "No to NATO, No to Bases, No to War."
Protesters will ostensibly voice their opposition to the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) between the United States and the European Union, as well as US troops' deployment at Spanish bases. A rally will take place in front of the US Embassy in Madrid on Sunday.