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U.S.: Kremlin balking in missile defense

Jan. 4, 2013 at 11:45 AM

WASHINGTON, Jan. 4 (UPI) -- Russia hasn't been as open to bilateral work on missile defense as the U.S. government would like, a U.S. State Department spokeswoman said.

Russia's state-run news agency RIA Novosti states that Moscow has proposed a joint missile defense system, adding it needed legal guarantees that U.S. military forces wouldn't target Russian interests.

"Since Moscow's proposal received a lukewarm response in the West, it has been warning of unspecified low-cost 'asymmetric measures' to counter the future Western missile defense system," the news agency states.

The Kremlin has expressed concern about U.S. missile defense plans in Eastern Europe. Washington said a regional deterrent is needed to protect against rogue regimes like Iran or North Korea. Moscow, however, said such a defense plan would upset the regional balance of power.

Victoria Nuland, a spokeswoman for the State Department, said the White House was committed to working with its Kremlin counterparts on missile defense. It would be a "win-win," she said, because of shared national security threats.

"So we remain open to working on this, and we remain open to collaboration, both bilaterally and in terms of the NATO-Russia track, but Russia has not been as open to that as we'd like them to be," she said.

Moscow said recently it was planning to deploy new intercontinental missile systems by next year.

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