Friday, August 15, 2008

Moscow Issues Nuclear Warning to Poland

Moscow lashed out at Washington and Warsaw on Friday, saying the plan to site a US anti-missile defence shield in Poland would undermine the global balance of power and put Poland at risk of nuclear attack.

Washington and Warsaw reached a preliminary agreement on Thursday to build part of the missile defence shield in Poland, station US Patriot missiles there and bolster the two countries’ military co-operation.

Missile talks with Poles gain urgency - Aug-13Regional leaders signal Georgian solidarity - Aug-12Polish PM fails to deliver promised reforms - Jul-31Kroes doubts Polish shipyards’ survival - Jul-10Fakro to file complaint against Danish rival - Jul-06Polish heirs pose fiscal threat - Jul-05The US claims the shield in Poland, as well as a radar tracking base to be located in the Czech Republic, is designed to defend against “rogue states” such as Iran.

The timing of this week’s agreement, as relations between Russia and the US deteriorated over the Georgia crisis, has strengthened Moscow’s conviction that the move is anti-Russian.

“The deployment of new anti-missile forces in Europe has the Russian federation as its aim,” said Dmitry Medvedev, the Russian president, at a press conference with Angela Merkel, the German chancellor, on Friday.

Dmitri Rogozin, Russia’s Nato envoy, said the fact the agreement “was signed at a time of a very difficult crisis in relations between Russia and the US over the situation in Georgia shows that, of course, the missile defence system will be deployed not against Iran, but against the strategic potential of Russia.”

Anatoly Nogovitsin, the deputy head of the Russian armed forces, warned Poland that by hosting the shield it could become the target of a nuclear attack in war time. “The US is concerned with its own anti-missile defence, not Poland’s. But Poland, by deploying [the shield], will be exposed to attack.”

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