Russia's Ambassador to NATO Dmitry Rogozin
Source: Press TV
Russia has warned the United States and its NATO allies against plans to extend the deployment of missile defense systems in the north European waters, calling them provocative.
At a Tuesday press conference in Norway, Russia's ambassador to NATO Dmitry Rogozin slammed the alliance's failure to guarantee that American warships equipped with anti-missile systems would not be deployed in the waters of north Europe, AFP reported.
"The very fact of deploying US military missile defense infrastructure in the northern seas is a real provocation with regard to the process of nuclear disarmament," said Rogozin.
Moscow fears that the anti-missile system would undermine its nuclear deterrent, and thus has been seeking legally binding guarantees to check it.
"Why is no one giving guarantees that a US fleet equipped with Aegis interceptor systems won't be deployed in the northern seas?" he added.
The Russian government has long opposed NATO's disputed plan of deploying an anti-missile shield in Europe, arguing that the would-be system in its "back yard” is not to secure Washington's European allies but is effectively aimed at Russia.
"I'm sure that if there were no such plans in reality, then I would have been given a very definite negative answer. I didn't get any firm answer to this question," the Russian envoy pointed out.
Moscow has also called for sharing control of any anti-missile shield, saying the aim of the so-called defense shield is to encircle Russia. Washington refuses to share the responsibility for protecting NATO member states with any third party.
NATO officials estimate that the missile shield project will not be completed before 2018.