US unlikely to revise missile defence plans: Russia

Moscow, April 22 (Inditop) The US is unlikely to revise its missile defence plans and there are no reasons for a drastic reduction in offensive strategic arms, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said Tuesday.

“The US side has not revised its plans. I do not think that this may happen. On the contrary, we can see that work in the missile defence area has intensified, including in the NATO format,” Ryabkov told the Interfax news agency.

Moscow is also concerned that the US is not destroying its nuclear warheads, instead it is stockpiling them in implementing the Treaty on Strategic Offensive Reductions, Ryabkov said.

“This is a very important subject. We still disagree with the idea that restrictions apply only to operationally deployed warheads,” the official said. “We cannot be indifferent to what happens to the warheads that are not deployed on means of their delivery but that are stockpiled.”

Some experts have said that Russia and the US could reduce their nuclear potential down to 1,000 units or less, but Ryabkov said he did not believe that “anything supernatural will happen from the viewpoint of reducing these parameters”.

“Preconditions for this have yet to mature, and in my opinion there is no reason to speak about such drastic reductions,” he said.

The diplomat also added that if the US planed to deploy missile defence facilities in Europe, Russia would in turn deploy Iskander missiles in the Kaliningrad territory.

“Nobody has changed this position. I would only add that, if there is no third phase (of the US global missile defence system), then there will be no Iskanders,” Ryabkov said.

Meanwhile, Ryabkov noted that the Obama administration has shown signs of easing its position on strategic arms.

“There are many signs that allow me to state with a sufficient level of certainty that the current administration will take into consideration our priorities and preferences to a larger extent than the George Bush administration,” he said.

He also said that Moscow hoped the new administration would take into consideration Russia’s stance during talks of a new treaty to replace the Strategic Arms Reductions Treaty – I (START-I), which is due to expire in December