07 November 2008

Russia Helps Solidify Missile Defense in Europe With Remarks by President Medvedev

PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Riki Ellison, Chairman of the Missile Defense Advocacy Alliance (MDAA) www.missiledefenseadvocacy.org issued a statement today reacting to remarks by Russia's President, Dmitry Medvedev. The statement is as follows:

"The public remarks by President Dmitry Medvedev of Russia at his state of the union address to the Duma demanding the withdrawal of the U.S. missile defense systems in Europe by threatening the placement of Russian mobile missiles and other military action has helped solidify the continued deployment of the European Missile Defense site by the United States of America and its NATO allies.

"These remarks, made the day after the U.S. election, were directed at the President-elect Barack Obama and his new administration. This rhetoric, reminiscent of 20-year-old cold war tactics, has been used in different degrees and at different audiences over the past two years. The European Missile Defense site the Russians are opposing will consist of a U.S. midcourse x-band radar (EMR) in the Czech Republic and 10 U.S. ground-based interceptors in Poland, which will defend most of Europe including the northwest parts of Russia and Moscow as well as protecting the United States from ballistic missiles launched from Iran.

"This past year, former Russian President Vladimir Putin used a similar type of threat prior to the NATO summit in Bucharest, which had an adverse effect and galvanized the Europeans and NATO to endorse the European missile defense site after his remarks. President Putin also used the threatening rhetoric of targeting missiles towards the Czech Republic and Poland prior to each of their formal agreements with the United States to host these missile defense systems and again his statements galvanized both the population and the leadership to move forward with the agreements.

"This particular threat by President Medvedev comes again at the wrong time to the wrong audience, as it is clearly the first test to President-elect Obama. Like his predecessor before him, President Medvedev's intended intimidation will further embed the European Missile Defense site in the next U.S. Administration rather than less and strengthens the unity of Europe with the United States on missile defense."

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