Medvedev doesn't rule out new arms race by 2018

NATO should decide who the European missile defense system will be aimed against, and if against Russia, the existing nuclear parity between Russia and the United States will be broken and a new stage of the arms race will begin, said Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev.

"The idea of missile defense is not fully understood by anyone, and that is the main problem. Neither the U.S., nor the U.S. taxpayers know. As regards the positions of certain European countries and their leaders, they told me in private that they do not need all that but their U.S. friends, being senior partners in NATO, are forcing it upon them. But the main thing is that there is a certain default figure against which the existing missile shield is being created," Medvedev said in an interview with the British newspaper The Times to be published on Monday.

Russia cannot accept NATO's reassurances that the system is aimed against the countries developing unsanctioned nuclear programs, he said. "Then explain why these counter missiles can destroy the Russian targets, i.e. affect our missile potential? And if it is against us, one should say so honestly, but then it is the breaking of the nuclear parity which currently exists between Russia and the U.S. and has been key to security throughout the last post-war years. And we still cannot get an answer to this question," Medvedev said.

"U.S. lawmakers on Capitol Hill are saying almost openly: of course, it is against you. This too is symptomatic," the prime minister said.

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