Monday, July 14, 2008

Russia Mulls Aiming Nukes at Europe

(From Ria Novosti-InfoGraphic)

MOSCOW, July 14-AlalamNews

Russia is thinking of aiming nuclear weapons at western Europe for the first time since the end of the cold war, defense sources in Moscow have revealed.

The move is being considered in response to the US plans to develop a missile shield against what it claims as missiles from Iran and other countries. The plans under discussion include the possible deployment of ballistic missiles to Kaliningrad, a Russian enclave between the European Union countries of Lithuania and Poland.

Kaliningrad has been nuclear-free since the US and Russia agreed to scale back their nuclear arsenals at the end of the cold war. A Russian parliamentary committee visited the enclave 10 days ago to examine how a new generation of nuclear missiles could be based there. Any such deployment would significantly escalate tensions in Europe between Moscow and Washington. Condoleezza Rice, the US secretary of state, signed an agreement in Prague last week to build a radar station in the Czech Republic.

The station is an important part of the US missile shield. Washington claims that the shield will defend Europe and the US against attacks from states such as Iran and North Korea. Another deal, for Poland to host a base for 10 interceptor rockets on its border with Russia, is expected to be concluded later this year. Moscow is bitterly opposed to the shield, saying that it is part of an aggressive US military expansion into its own back yard.

"One of the main steps under consideration is a redeployment of nuclear missiles to Kaliningrad and Belarus," said a source with close connections to the Russian defense ministry.

"These missiles would be pointed at Europe. It would be a perfectly legitimate step. If America wants to expand its military capabilities in Europe, then we have the right to act accordingly."

Read also: U.S. may secretly deploy ballistic missiles in Poland - expert (Ria Novosti)
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