The Guardian 16 July, 2008

Russia "must punish"
states hosting US missiles

Russia must use economic and political means, and military ties with Asia, to punish European states that agree to host US missile defence elements, a Russian political analyst said last week. Colonel General Leonid Ivashov, the head of the Moscow-based Academy of Geopolitical Sciences, was commenting on the US-Czech deal to station missile tracking radar in that country.

"Russia should not limit itself to statements. We must have a plan, adopted by the Russian Security Council, setting out measures on the economic, political and military cooperation levels," he said.

"Russia must also warn the European countries that ... in case of a potential military confrontation ... capitals, large cities and industrial and communications centres of the countries hosting elements of the US missile shield will inevitably become primary targets of nuclear strikes. They should know that we are holding them in our sights."

Washington claims that the defences are needed to deter a possible strike from Iran but this is clearly a transparent ploy as Iran does not have the capability of hitting European countries. Deployments in Poland and the Czech Republic are aimed at Russia.

Majority against

The US-Czech missile shield treaty has yet to be ratified by the Czech parliament and signed by the Czech president. The country’s opposition is currently holding mass rallies around the country against the placement of an early warning radar near the capital, Prague. In public opinion polls a majority have voted against the proposed US missile bases.

Polish-American talks on Washington’s plans to place a missile base in Poland have stalled. Poland’s prime minister said last Friday that his country was not satisfied with the terms offered by the US, but was ready for further dialogue.

Leonid Ivashov said that "On the political level, we must suspend our cooperation with NATO, because it brings us nothing but harm."

As an alternative, he suggested that Russia start negotiations with China, India and other countries to form a global alliance against the US missile shield in Europe.

On the economic level, Russia must restrict imports and exports from and to countries which allow the placement of US missile defence systems on their territory. "Bilateral relations with these countries as a whole must be limited," Ivashov said.

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