Russia will have to retaliate against the unrestricted development of NATO missile defense networks capable of intercepting intercontinental ballistic missiles, Russian Deputy Defense Minister Anatoly Antonov has said.
"Given the unrestricted development of missile defense systems capable of intercepting Russian intercontinental ballistic missiles, we will have to take countermeasures, as we have repeatedly underscored before," Antonov told reporters on Friday.
He was commenting on the engagement of Norway in the missile defense project. The Norwegian media said that the frigate Fridtjof Nansen will for the first time join the U.S.-led drills At Sea Demonstration 2015 of member countries of the Maritime Theater Missile Defense Forum in October of this year.
"We believe that the exercises involving the UK, Italy, Canada, the Netherlands and France in addition to Norway and the United States will be tasked to bolster practice of joint air and missile defense and to test U.S. SM-3 interceptor missiles. The exercises will be held in northeastern parts of the Atlantic, which may be proof of just one thing - they are planning to practice interception of Russian ballistic missiles," Antonov said.
"We cannot help but be concerned about such kind of training," the deputy defense minister stated.
Antonov called attention of the Norwegian defense minister to the fact that Norway was set to broaden cooperation with the United States and other NATO countries in the development of air and missile defense systems of the maritime theater of operations.
"Hence, the creation of stationary facilities of the European missile defense network was accompanied with the steady growth of mobile seaborne systems to intercept ballistic missiles and exercises were held to test their operation within integrated information and firepower zones," Antonov said.
"NATO continues to implement missile defense plans despite positive dynamics in the political resolution of the problem of the Iranian nuclear program, which was presented as the original cause of the decision to build a European defensive network. Claims by politicians and military commanders of NATO countries that the project will be adaptive are long forgotten, and Russian concerns are still being ignored," he said.
The deputy minister said also that the dialogue on military-political issues, including air defense issues, had stopped at the initiative of the alliance. "So, they can act without explaining themselves and disregard Russian concerns. At the same time, the Russian Defense Ministry's assessments declaring an anti-Russian potential of the European missile defense network, which had been repeatedly presented to NATO colleagues before the contacts were suspended, were not refuted," Antonov said.
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