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Russia’s NATO envoy calls U.S. missile shield ‘dead cat’

RIA Novosti [1]
Saturday, Aug 16, 2008

Russia’s ambassador to NATO has compared the U.S. missile defense system to “a dead cat,” since its effectiveness can only be verified as a result of reciprocal thermonuclear missile strikes.

“The Europeans have received a ‘dead cat’ from the Americans,” Dmitry Rogozin said, commenting on the U.S.-Polish missile-defense deal, signed Thursday.

He said that if the threat really came from Iran, as the U.S. says it does, it would be more “logical to deploy U.S. missile defense elements on NATO’s southern flanks – in Turkey, Bulgaria and Romania.”

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He earlier said the missile defense system for central Europe targets Russia.

Rogozin said that by signing the agreement with the United States, Poland has effectively confirmed that Russia is the focus of the missile shield.

“The Poles should be thanked for helping reveal the strategic goal of the U.S. missile defense plan,” Dmitry Rogozin said in an interview with RIA Novosti.

Russia is strongly opposed to the missile shield, which it says will undermine its nuclear deterrent and threaten its national security.

President Dmitry Medvedev said Friday he had no doubt it was aimed against Russia, but added that Moscow was ready to continue talks with all parties concerned.

Washington says plans to place 10 interceptor missiles in Poland coupled with a radar system in the Czech Republic are intended to counter possible attacks from what it calls “rogue states,” including Iran.

The agreement was reached after Washington agreed to reinforce Poland’s air defenses. The deal is still to be approved by the two countries’ governments and Poland’s parliament.

Officials say the interceptor base in Poland will be opened by 2012. The Czech Republic signed a deal to host a U.S. radar on July 8.

Russian officials earlier said Moscow could deploy its Iskander tactical missiles and strategic bombers in Belarus and Russia’s westernmost exclave of Kaliningrad if Washington succeeded in its missile shield plans in Europe. Moscow also warned it could target its missiles on Poland.