Belarus pledges full support for Russian plans to counter US missile defense in Europe
The Belarusian foreign minister has voiced concern about the US and NATO beefing up military contingents in Europe, promising his country will join Russia in offering an appropriate response to the deployment of US missile defense systems on the continent.
“For us this is a very sensitive topic – today our Western partners start discussions about additional deployment of troops to countries that are our neighbors,” RIA Novosti quoted Vladimir Makey as saying on Monday, after the talks with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov. “This causes our concern, we see this as a potential challenge to our nation.”
Makey also said that Russia and Belarus would jointly develop “adequate reactive measures” both to additional deployment of conventional troops to Eastern Europe and putting elements of the US global missile defense system in the proximity to Russian and Belarus borders.
The minister reminded the press that his country and the Russian Federation have formed a Union State and continue to develop close ties in the military sphere. Putting additional troop in the European region only added up to tensions and damaged the universal security, he said.
Last week NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg took part in the inauguration ceremony of the US Aegis Ashore anti-missile station in Romania. Stoltenberg mentioned in his speech that the facility does not pose any threat to the Russian Federation, but this statement was immediately questioned by Russian politicians and officials.
“We have been saying right from when this story started that our experts are convinced that the deployment of the ABM system poses a certain threat to the Russian Federation,” President Vladimir Putin’s press secretary Dmitry Peskov told reporters. "Measures are being taken to ensure the necessary level of security for Russia. The president himself, let me remind you, has repeatedly asked who the system will work against [if not Russia].”
The head of the Russian Foreign Ministry's Department for Proliferation and Arms Control Issues, Mikhail Ulyanov, told reporters last week that the move had an adverse effect on strategic stability, adding that the direct interests of Russia’s security are affected by this event. He added that by launching the Romanian base the United States violated the 1987 INF treaty under which Mikhail Gorbachev and Ronald Reagan signed their respective countries up to obligations “not to possess, produce, or flight-test a ground-launched cruise missile (GLCM) with a range capability of 500km to 5,500km, or to possess or produce launchers of such missiles.”
Also last week the US commenced the construction of an ABM site in Poland, due to be ready by late 2018.