Saturday, Dec 20, 2008
Russia is ready to abandon plans for a wholesale renewal of its nuclear missile arsenal if the United States stops deployment of a controversial missile shield, a Russian general said Friday.
The comments by the commander of Russia’s strategic missile forces came amid increasing verbal exchanges between the two sides over missile defence ahead of the inauguration of Barack Obama as US president on January 20.
“If the Americans give up their plans to deploy the third position area and other elements of strategic missile defence, then undoubtedly we will respond in kind,” said General Nikolai Solovtsov, quoted by Interfax news agency.
“And an array of programmes, expensive programmes, will simply not be necessary for us,” he added.
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The term “third position area” refers to planned US missile defence facilities in Eastern Europe that have aroused a furious reaction from Russia.
“Today we do not have ideological reasons for confrontation. And as we realise plans for the development of the strategic missile forces, we are not planning to frighten anyone,” Solovtsov said.