Russia, U.S. running out of time to reach agreement on missile defense - Medvedev

The Russian leadership finds it comfortable to communicate with the incumbent U.S. administration, but their positions are still significantly different on some issues, particularly missile defense, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said.

"We've had different periods in our relations, and I should acknowledge that our relations have been developing basically well in the past years, because we managed to prepare and sign very important documents, and our American partners facilitated our accession to the WTO," Medvedev said in an interview to Cuban media outlets.

"I won't deny that both my colleague Vladimir Putin and I find it quite comfortable to communicate with the U.S. administration, but there are issues on which our positions differ very significantly," he said. "One of them is weapons, including missile defense."

"Unfortunately, despite all our attempts to explain to the Americans that we see the proposed version of a European missile defense system as one actually targeted against Russia and its nuclear potential, our reasons are being ignored both at the American level and in the North Atlantic alliance format," Medvedev explained.

Russia's partners are trying to persuade it that the missile defense system cannot threaten its strategic potential, but these assurances do not look convincing to Moscow, he added.

"We have presented all our arguments, but the situation is not changing. Alas, time is running out for reaching an agreement from month to month," he said.

The deadline for such an agreement on missile defense is earlier than the end of the current decade.

"If we cannot reach an agreement, consequences for international relations could be very, very upsetting, because we will have to take retaliatory measures, and these retaliatory measures will have to be taken by any Russian government and any leader of the Russian state simply because such are our strategic interests," Medvedev said.

He also mentioned the Sergei Magnitsky Rule of Law Accountability Act of 2012.

"We had to take retaliatory measures, including the law on responsibility of individuals violating human rights and interests of Russian citizens. Is this a good way? No, it is bad. The fewer such reasons, the better for both Russian-American relations and international relations on the whole," he said.

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