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4 Oct, 2009 16:27

Pentagon: joint use of Russian radars possible

Pentagon: joint use of Russian radars possible

The US is considering jointly using two Russian radars as part of its missile defense system, US Assistant Secretary of Defense Alexander Vershbow said in an interview with a Russian news agency.

The joint use of the radars – one in Armavir in southern Russia, and another in the Azerbaijani city of Gabala – was first put forward by Vladimir Putin in 2007.

Last month, the US scrapped its plan to build two missile defense bases in Eastern Europe. Russia strongly opposed the bases, seeing them as a threat to its national security.

Washington has insisted its missile shield is only aimed at potential threats from Iran and North Korea.

In an interview with Interfax, Vershbow said that the US is now considering the joint use of the Russian radars as part of broader cooperation on missile defense, including sharing data against a possible missile attack.

"I think that the basic idea of sharing this kind of information against a common threat makes sense. And of course, it could be just the beginning of a program of cooperation between NATO and Russia, or between the United States and Russia on missile defense," he is quoted as saying.

He said Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and other officials had already “pointed to the possibility of some form of link between Russian radars at Armavir, at Gabala, to provide additional data and early warning information that could benefit both of us in defending against ballistic missile threats."

As for how exactly those links can be established and how it would work, Vershbow said that is for experts to decide.