Saturday, September 3, 2011

Russia slams NATO radar gear in Turkey

A file photo of a surveillance and target acquisition radar system

Source: Press TV

Russia has censured a NATO plan to base an early warning radar system in Turkey and denounced efforts by the Western military alliance to advance eastward.

The Russian foreign ministry said Turkey's radar plan would mark another step in the deployment "of the European segment of a global US missile defense system," AFP reported on Friday.

Russia also demanded new Western security pledges after neighboring Turkey announced plans to host an early warning radar as part of NATO's missile shield system for Europe.

It also reaffirmed an earlier demand for “firm, legally-binding guarantees that the anti-missile systems deployed in Europe are not aimed at the strategic nuclear forces of Russia.”

NATO's decision to push ahead with plans for a European missile shield despite Russia's objections has served as one of the main stumbling blocks in the so-called "reset" in relations agreed by Moscow and Washington in 2009.

Russia has expressed concerns that the shield could make its nuclear forces redundant, but NATO claims that the system can only defend against small nuclear arsenals.

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev stated following his May talks with US President Barack Obama that an ultimate solution to the long-running row over missile defense may not come until after 2020.

The US has said that NATO's early warning radar system, scheduled to be deployed in Turkey, will be operational by the end of 2011. Ankara has confirmed that talks over the deployment of the system have reached the final stage.

In 2010, NATO agreed to deploy a missile system that it claims would serve to protect Europe.

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