New missile shield in Romania tests Russian-U.S. relations

08:27, May 06, 2011      

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by Xinhua writers Zhang Dailei, Zhou Liang

A new test for relations between Russia and the United States has arisen as Romania struck a deal with Washington Tuesday to deploy U.S. missile interceptors there, prompting Moscow to ask for "safeguards" from Washington.

This future missile shield could set one more obstacle for the talks underway between the two countries on European missile defense system, local analysts said.

RUSSIA WORRIES

Though Washington said the missile shield was to counter attacks from Iran, Moscow worried the shield could be turned against Russia, targeting its strategic nuclear forces.

The Russian Foreign Ministry swiftly released a statement after the deal was announced Tuesday, saying Moscow wants to receive legal guarantees from the United States that its missile defense shield in Romania will not target Russia's strategic nuclear forces.

Also on Tuesday, Russia was holding a high-level negotiation with the U.S. and NATO on European missile defense system, analysts noted.

The Russian Foreign Ministry said this "practical step" by Washington to create a European segment of its global missile defense system was made regardless of Russian-U.S. dialogue on anti-missile issues.

Admiral Viktor Kravchenko, former Russian navy chief of staff, said the new U.S. anti-missile defense base in Romania would break the power balance in the Black Sea area once it starts operation.

Russia should strengthen the combat potential of its Black Sea Fleet, he said.

Igor Korotchenko, chief editor of Russian "National Defense" magazine, told Xinhua the missile shield might not pose immediate security threat to Russia, but in the long run, as it upgrades, things might become more risky.

Konstantin Sivkov, vice president of Russian Academy of Geopolitical Problems, said he believes the Romanian anti-missile base is targeted at Moscow, like other numerous U.S. military bases surrounding Russia.


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