Missile defense: Moscow ready to answer questions and threats
Russia has invited about 50 states, including the US and other NATO members, to participate in an international conference on missile defense, to be held in Moscow on May 3-4.
The Russian Defense Ministry received even more positive replies to its invitations than expected, said Sergey Koshelev, the head of the body’s Main Department for International Military Cooperation. He noted that only one country – a European NATO member-state – said that it would not take part in the summit. In addition, Moscow sent invitations to about 40 foreign military experts from non-government organizations, Koshelev said. He added that last week, at a meeting with NATO leadership in Brussels, he was assured that the alliance would accept the invitation to the conference. Representatives of China, South Korea, Japan, the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) and member-states of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) are also expected to attend the event. “We consider it crucially important to publically voice the Russian Defense Ministry’s concerns regarding missile defense issues,” Koshelev told military attaches at a meeting on preparations for the conference, cites Itar-Tass. Representatives of NATO and American colleagues will also have a chance to state their points of view on the matter. The Chief of the General Staff of Russian Armed Forces Nikolay Makarov will present a speech at the gathering explaining Moscow’s official stance on the issue. “We simply want to draw attention [of American colleagues and other partners] to Russian concerns so that they think about strategic consequences of their plans on missile defense,” Koshelev said. It is also planned that two working groups will be formed within the framework of the conference. The first will assess missile threats. The second group will work on issues related to responses to such threats and, also, problems that would arise from the deployment of NATO’s missile defense system in Europe. On May 4, the participants of the summit will visit a Russian missile defense facility located not far from Sofrino village in the Moscow Region.