#4 - JRL 7009
U.S. Optimistic About Russsia on A.B.M.
January 8, 2002
MOSCOW (AP) - The United States and Russia have good prospects for cooperating on development of anti-ballistic missile systems and are trying to define areas of possible joint work, the U.S. ambassador to Moscow said in an interview published Wednesday.
Moscow strongly opposed U.S. plans to withdraw from the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty and deploy a national missile shield, saying such action could seriously harm international security. But when President Bush announced the withdrawal from the treaty last summer, Russian President Vladimir Putin reacted mildly - and Russian officials have since adopted a tone of regret rather than anger over Washington's decision.
U.S. officials have in the meantime tried to mollify their Russian counterparts by playing up the possibilities for Russian scientists to take part in developing a new ABM system. In the interview with the Interfax news agency, U.S. Ambassador Alexander Vershbow said that Washington could make use of sophisticated Russian technology.
``Russia has advanced technology such as the S-300 and S-400 anti-air missiles, which could be developed into an anti-ballistic missile capability,'' Vershbow was quoted as saying.
The new S-400 Triumph can hit targets up to 250 miles away and engage stealth aircraft, Russian military observers say. The latest versions of its predecessor, the S-300, have a a range of 125 miles.
While the S-300 can shoot down short-range missiles, the S-400 can engage intermediate range ballistic missiles that have a range of 2,170 miles, according to official Russian arms trade data.
Two years ago, Putin proposed creation of a joint missile defense system with Western European countries, and Russian military officials mentioned both the S-300 and S-400 as possible components. The proposal, seen largely as an attempt to rally European criticism against the U.S. missile defense plan, was short on detail and has so far not borne fruit.