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Russia vows 'to share responsibility' over Europe missile shield

Collage of NATO Flag and Russia Map with TricolorsMOSCOW, December 13 (RIA Novosti)-Russia is ready to share responsibility in creating a joint missile defense shield in Europe, Russian Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov said on Monday.

"We have proposed to share responsibility and Russia is ready to act in some part and take on anti-missile defense responsibility," Serdyukov told Vesti 24 news television channel.

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev warned in his state of the nation address on November 30 that if talks on the missile defense failed within a decade "a new round of arms race will start" and Russia will "have to adopt decisions on the deployment of new strategic weapons."

Medvedev also said that Russia was ready to participate in a joint missile defense shield in Europe "on principles of equality and responsibility." Russia and NATO agreed at a recent NATO-Russia summit in Lisbon to formulate terms for missile defense cooperation by June 2011.

Echoing the Russian president's statement, Serdyukov said: "This will suit us. And no doubt it will relieve our certain concerns of against who it is really aimed at."

The defense minister also voiced hope that the Russian proposals will be approved. "They [proposals] are very weighted and as I think advantageous for Russia and NATO," he said.

Serdyukov also said that the joint anti-missile defense shield will "minimize" both financial and military expenses and "relieve" all Russia's concerns.

At the same time the minister said Russia will have to take countermeasures if the talks on building the joint shield in Europe failed.

"Anyway, we must work out a system that can overcome the European missile defense shield and naturally not decrease the potential of the Russian nuclear forces," Serdyukov said.

However, he raised hope that the sides will come to an agreement and Russia will not need to take the measures to counter the new threats.

Speaking on the recent WikiLeaks publications alleging that NATO still treated Russia as a potential enemy, the minister said Russia hoped that this information "is not true to fact."

The latest batch of U.S. embassy cables released by WikiLeaks showed NATO drew up plans in January to defend the Baltic states of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania against any possible attack by Russia.

"We understand that any troop deployment near the Russian borders undoubtedly raises concerns... Correspondingly, we will be forced to take some measures adequate to those taken by any country or a bloc as a whole in this case," Serdyukov said.

Meanwhile, the minister stressed that at the Lisbon summit, NATO approved a strategic concept which said that the bloc does not see Russia as an enemy, but as a partner of strategic importance.

"We look at this document with optimism and believe that our relations will develop in a positive manner," Serdyukov said.

Keyword Tags:

Russia, Nuclear Issues, Missile Defense - Russia, NATO - Russia News - Russia - Johnson's Russia List

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