By Denisova Olga
Russia’s President Dmitry Medvdev has announced counter-measures to NATO and US ABMs in Europe. Firstly, Russia will deploy a radar missile warning system in the area of Kaliningrad.
On November 23, Russia’s President Dmitry Medvedev addressed the nation on the deployment of NATO and US ABMs in Europe. Medvedev stated that the US has already launched its ABM program in Europe and Russia should respectively respond to this move. The President has made several counter-decisions on the problem:
“I have ordered the Ministry of Defense to deploy a radar missile warning system in the city of Kaliningrad. Then, a strategic missile facilities shield will be the first to be strengthened as part of setting up Russia’s Air and Space defense system. Third step is to equip Russia’s Navy and strategic missiles troops with a cutting-edge ABM penetration device and super efficient warheads. Finally, I have ordered the country’s military to develop measures enabling the troops to destroy ABM control and information systems in the event of an attack. The abovementioned measures are relevant, efficient and low-cost.”
Russia and NATO made statements about a probable collective Euro-ABM system a year ago. In November, the parties agreed on the reset of bilateral relations after the Lisbon summit. However, they failed to reach agreement on the system’s architecture as Russia and the US view it 100% differently. Russia is insisting on its involvement in the US and NATO ABM system and is asking for specific legal guarantees that it will not target the country. But the US doesn’t give any. Thus, Dmitry Medvedev has proposed a new partnership strategy to ensure security in Europe:
“A year ago the Russia-NATO Lisbon summit resulted in an initiative to create a collective sector-based ABM system. Russia was ready to further modify it taking into account NATO’s views with the one aim to give Europe a single security perimeter where Russia will have an equal say instead of drawing new boundaries.”
NATO keeps assuring Moscow that it doesn’t intend to target Russia but these are only words. At the same time the alliance’s ABMs in Poland, Romania, Turkey and Spain are being deployed at full swing.
The White House has worked out a gradual Euro-ABM deployment strategy. Now Washington is deploying missiles on warships and ABM bases in Europe are to appear after 2015. America’s short term goal is to deploy ABMs near Russia’s borders and waters. Russia is not going to take part in a program that is to weaken its deterrence potential in 6-8 years, Medvedev said.
If worst comes to worst, Russia will have to halt peaceful initiatives and further disarmament and arms control:
“If the abovementioned are not enough, Russia will deploy cutting –edge ballistic missile systems providing for total destruction of US ABMs in Europe. One of the measures will be deploying The 9K720 Iskander mobile theater ballistic missile system in a special area in Kaliningrad. Russia has a right to halt further disarmament and arms control endeavors if it doesn’t reach an agreement with the US on the ABM issue. Moreover, taking into account the fact that offensive and defensive weapons are closely interconnected, Russia may have legal grounds to walk out of the START-3 and this is stipulated by the Treaty.”
At the recent APEC summit in Honolulu Medvedev and Obama admitted that the ABM talks haven’t progressed much, but both countries are ready to continue them.
Medvedev emphasized that Russia is not shutting the door on the ABM dialogue with the US and NATO and on practical partnership in this area.
The parties still have time to reach an understanding if Washington takes Russia’s interest into account.
Medvedev has already noted that Russia may face a choice – either to create its own ABMs or resume the arms race. Now its NATO’s turn to make a move.
What’s behind the ABM shield in Europe?
The creation of a European system of anti-ballistic missile defense (ABM) was to become the basis, on which new relations between Russia and NATO and in particular between Russia and the US would be built.
In November 2010, at the Russia-NATO summit in Lisbon it was decided not to think back about the Cold War era and to reset the dialogue between Moscow and the alliance and to create a rational foundation for it. New relations were to develop within a new security system. However one year later the participants of the meeting in Lisbon still fail to come to a single vision of it. It turns out that Russia and the US have incompatible views of the security system in Europe.
Moscow is insisting on its participation in the ABM system, which is being created by Washington and NATO demanding concrete juridical guarantees that this system won’t be targeted against Russia. The US is not ready to sign such a document and does not plan to link its ABM system with a country, which is not a member of NATO.
The US’ intentions have been known for quite a long time – first Washington considered Poland and the Czech Republic, Russia’s closest neighbors and NATO members, as the territories for deployment of the components of its anti-missile shield. It was already then, in 2007, when Vladimir Putin who was the Russian president at that time, proposed to the US the creation of a single anti-missile system in Europe. He also proposed to his US counterpart George Bush to use the radar in Gabala, Azerbaijan, that Moscow was leasing from Baku.
The US was ready to include the radar in Gabala and a radar in Armavir, in the south of Russia, into its anti-missile system. But Washington did not accept Moscow’s proposal that it should abandon plans to deploy interception missiles in Poland and a radar in the Czech Republic. Later it was done by the new US president Barack Obama who announced the “reset” of US-Russian relations.
On giving up its plans on the anti-missile shield, the White House administration chose a gradual approach to the deployment of the anti-missile system in Europe. So far Washington plans to deploy anti-missile systems on ships and after 2015, US’ anti-missile bases are to appear in Eastern Europe. The third and fourth stages of the plan imply the blocking of Russia’s strategic nuclear forces. The US plans to complete this adaptive program by 2020.
Although Obama decided not to focus on Poland and the Czech Republic the plans for creating the US ABM shield in Europe remain in force. The system’s configuration is kept secret. What is more obvious is the Pentagon’s plan to build up a global system of anti-missile defense.
Dmitry Medvedev proposed a new concept of cooperation and ensuring security in Europe. Moscow finds inadmissible the approach whreby some countries protect themselves at the expense of the security of other countries. Russia proposes to divide security responsibility working on a sector-based system. The point is that Moscow protects the Western countries by knocking down any missiles which fly to Europe over the Russian territory. It its turn NATO is to ensure protection of East European countries, which are NATO members and of Russia, which is not a member of the alliance. All the components of the ABM: sensors, radars, interceptor-missiles in this case will be set to repulse a missile attack from outside.
At their last meeting in Honolulu on November 12 (during APEC summit) Medvedev and Obama admitted lack of progress in talks on the ABM shield. Dmitry Medvedev has already reiterated that Russia may face the choice of creating its own ABM system or to resume the arms race.