‘Russia will find cheap reply to US missile defense’ - Lavrov

Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov (AFP Photo)
Russia will not need substantial funds to present an adequate reply to the planned US missile defense systems in Europe, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has said.

In an interview published in the Russian weekly magazine Profil, the Foreign Minister said that though there were no movement in missile defense talks between Russia and the United States and NATO, but expressed confidence that Russia was capable of defending its territory and international position.

“In our development plans we have opportunities to secure our territory and our positions in the strategic stability sphere without serious additional expenditures,” the official said.

Lavrov stressed that by using such an approach, Russia would not let itself to be dragged into a new arms race. “While Western partners tell us ‘Why are you threatening with some measures to compensate the risks? Why will you drag the world into the new arms race?’ But this is a deceptive approach, as the very American anti-missile project suggests the arms race. But we are not going to answer this offer,” the minister said.

At the same time, the minister reiterated that Russia needed legal guarantees that the US missile defense will not infringe its interests. “They tell us that all this is not against us, but on the other hand they refuse to fix it as a taken obligation. And we want at least some legally binding guarantees that the system will not be aimed against us. Now they do not want to give us such guarantees. And without this we will have to look for other ways to ensure our own security,” the minister said.

Lavrov also reminded that the existing plan of the US missile defense deployment suggests such elements and weapons that can create risks for intercontinental missiles and submarine-based ballistic missiles “and these missiles have such parameters that are not owned by Iran or any other country, but Russia”.

The minister said that currently the talks on missile defense are in a deadlock. “There is no movement,” Lavrov said.

Sergey Lavrov also said that he disagreed with recently-sacked Finance Minister Aleksey Kudrin, who has repeatedly criticized the policy of increasing the defense budget. “I think that the president has already commented on Alexey Leonidovich Kudrin’s statements that we spend too much on weapons. The president clearly confirmed that we will not change our military construction plans as these plans should compensate for the most serious lagging behind that could be observed in previous years,” Lavrov said.