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Russian Chief of General Staff Nikolai Makarov, with regard to the US missile defense system slated to be established in Europe, said Thursday. "A decision to use destructive force pre-emptively will be taken if the situation worsens."
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Russian Military Threatens 'Pre-Emptive
Strike' Missile Defense Facilities

Associated Press
Russia's top military officer has threatened to deal a pre-emptive strike on US-led NATO missile defense facilities in Eastern Europe if Washington goes ahead with its controversial missile defense plan.

Pres. Dmitry Medvedev said last year that Russia will retaliate militarily if it does not reach an agreement with the United States and NATO on the controversial missile defense system.

Chief of General Staff Nikolai Makarov went even further Thursday. "A decision to use destructive force pre-emptively will be taken if the situation worsens," Makarov said.

Russian Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov also warned Thursday that talks between Moscow and Washington on the topic are "close to a dead end."

US missile defense plans in Europe have been one of the touchiest subjects in US-Russian relations for years.

Moscow rejects Washington's claim that the missile defense plan is solely to deal with any Iranian missile threat and has voiced fears it will eventually become powerful enough to undermine Russia's nuclear deterrent. Moscow has proposed running the missile shield jointly with NATO, but the alliance has rejected that proposal.

Makarov's statement on Thursday doesn't seem to imply an immediate threat, but aims to put extra pressure on Washington to agree to Russia's demands.

The Obama administration tried to ease tensions with Russia in 2009 by saying it would revamp an earlier Bush-era plan to emphasize shorter-range interceptors. Russia initially welcomed that move, but has more recently suggested the new interceptors could threaten its missiles as the US interceptors are upgraded.

The US-NATO missile defense plans use Aegis radars and interceptors on ships and a more powerful radar based in Turkey in the first phase, followed by radar and interceptor facilities in Romania and Poland.

Russia would not plan any retaliation unless the United States goes through with its plans and takes the third and final step and deploys defense elements in Poland, Deputy Defense Minister Anatoly Antonov said Wednesday. That is estimated to happen no earlier than in 2018.

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