Russia: U.S. Refuses Talks on Missile Defense System

MOSCOW (Reuters) -
Officials take part in the official ground-breaking ceremony of a NATO ballistic missile defence facility in Redzikowo near Slupsk, Poland May 13, 2016. Agencja Gazeta/Jan Rusek via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. EDITORIAL USE ONLY. POLAND OUT. NO COMMERCIAL OR EDITORIAL SALES IN POLAND.
Officials take part in the groundbreaking ceremony of a NATO ballistic missile defense facility in Redzikowo, Poland, May 13. (Agencja Gazeta/Jan Rusek via Reuters)

The United States has refused Russian offers to discuss Washington’s missile defense program. Russian Deputy Defense Minister Anatoly Antonov was quoted as saying on Sunday, calling the initiative “very dangerous”.

Russian President Vladimir Putin last month warned Romania and Poland that they could find themselves in the sights of Russian rockets because they are hosting elements of the missile shield that Moscow considers a threat to its security.

Addressing a forum in Singapore, Antonov said the U.S.-backed project was creating problems for both Russia and China, complaining that Moscow had repeatedly called upon the United States to rethink its plans, the Interfax news agency reported.

“We have offered them cooperation many times and found ways we could solve the situation … But we did not manage to convince them to continue dialogue on this issue. As I understand it, now is not the best time for them to hold consultations,” Antonov said.

He did not elaborate, although the United States is in the middle of a presidential election campaign ahead of a Nov. 8 vote.

The U.S. military – which says the shield is needed to protect the United States and European allies from Iran, not threaten Russia – activated the Romanian part of the shield last month. Work is now going ahead on another section of the shield, in Poland.

“It is very dangerous when one country secures its own security at the expense of other countries’ security,” Antonov was quoted by Interfax as saying.