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Russia threatens to aim at US missile shield in Europe
Updated: 2008-09-10 23:54

MOSCOW - Russian intercontinental ballistic missiles could be aimed at the US missile defense shield in Europe, the commander of Russia's Strategic Missile Forces said Wednesday.

"I cannot rule out that, in case the top military-political leadership makes such a decision," Col. Gen. Nikolai Solovtsov was quoted by the Interfax news agency as saying.

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The missile defense facilities in Poland and the Czech Republic and other similar facilities in the future could "be designated as targets for our ICBMs," said Solovtsov.

Russia has to take appropriate measures to keep the country's nuclear deterrence from being devalued under any circumstances, he said.

"These 10 interceptor missiles cannot significantly devalue Russia's attack potential, although this will certainly make some negative effect on it. But the point is that the United States doesn't want to take on any legal obligations but is only asserting verbally: we aren't threatening you," Solovtsov was quoted as saying.

The senior Russian general also said that another four missiles, including a RS-24 ICBM, will be test-launched by the end of this year.

Three launches have been made so far this year, one in June and two in August. "All the launches were successful," he said.

Washington proposed last year to establish an anti-ballitstic missile shield in Central Europe, including interceptor missiles in Poland and a radar station in the Czech Republic.

Moscow has consistently expressed its opposition to the US missile shield in Europe, saying it threatens its national security. However, Washington says the shield is designed to thwart missile attacks by what it calls "rogue states."

The United States and the Czech Republic signed a bilateral treaty in July allowing a US radar base on Czech soil. Last month, the United States and Poland reached an agreement on deploying parts of the US global missile shield in the European country.