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10 Jun, 2009 15:23

No AMD offers so far – Russian general

The US Defense Secretary expects a fresh interest in anti-missile defence from Russia during President Obama’s visit to Moscow in July, but Russia’s Defence Ministry says it hasn’t received offers regarding the issue.

“Whenever the offers arrive, we are prepared to consider them,” First Deputy Defence Minister Colonel General Aleksandr Kolmakov said, adding that Russia has a “successive military foreign policy” that was made considering the existing and potential threats.

Kolmakov’s words were a reaction to the recent declarations made by US Defense Secretary Robert Gates.

“New intelligence service”

At a Senate hearing Gates said he doesn’t rule out that the anti-missile radars may be built in Russia.

He also stated that Obama’s administration is “very interested” in cooperation with Russia, whose leaders were assured many times that AMD-systems are by no means aimed against Russia.

Gates referred to a meeting with Vladimir Putin years ago, when he was still Russia’s President.

“When I first met with President Putin and talked about this, he basically dismissed the idea that the Iranians would have a missile that would have the range to reach much of Western Europe and much of Russia before 2020 or so. And he showed me a map that his intelligence guys had prepared. And I told him he needed a new intelligence service,” Gates said.

However, according to Gates, “Russians have come back” to the Pentagon, acknowledging that the Iranian missile threat was bigger than Moscow initially believed.

“My hope is we can build on that, and perhaps at the president's summit meeting with President Medvedev perhaps begin to make some steps where they will partner with us and Poland and the Czech Republic, in going forward with missile defense,” Gates concluded.

Gates, though in office since 2006 under George W. Bush, has spent some time working with President Obama’s administration. He also wrote his doctorate paper on Russian and Soviet history.

“Radar bases in Russia are possible”

Former strategic arms research institute head, Major-General Vladimir Dvorkin from the Institute of World Economy and International Relations told Interfax that radar bases in Russia are a possibility.

“I can’t say anything definitive about American radars on Russia’s territory, but solving that question the way it is may be quite real. And speaking of the decision on the data exchange center [a unit that will secure an on-the-fly connection on missile defence between Moscow and Washington] that was made by two presidents back in 1998, it has to be reanimated. It was small, but it was a move in right direction,” he said.

“These moves will help change the current absurd state of mutual nuclear deterrence,” Dvorkin added.

Under the current plans, the radars would be in Poland and the Czech Republic – an approach strongly criticized by Moscow.