Poland has warned Moscow against interfering in NATO’s plans concerning the deployment of a missile shield in Europe as Russia is not a member of the military alliance, a high-ranking Polish official said on Tuesday.
On Sunday, NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen announced the “first step” in the European missile defense system.
“If this system belongs to NATO, then it cannot be that a state, which is not a NATO member, could influence NATO’s defense system and the development of this system,” said Bogdan Borusewicz, the chairman of the Polish parliament’s upper house.
Borusewicz said, however, that talks with Russia on the missile shield in Europe must be continued to convince Moscow that the system is not threatening its national security. “I believe that talks should be continued so that the Russian authorities do not think that the system is aimed at the country,” Borusewicz told journalists commenting on the recent Russian statements concerning the missile shield. Nikolai Makarov, chief of the General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces, said in early May that Russia does not exclude a preemptive strike against a NATO missile defense system in Europe as a last resort.
The United States and NATO agreed to develop the system at a summit in Lisbon in 2010, but talks between Russia and the alliance have floundered over NATO’s refusal to grant Russia legal guarantees that the system would not be aimed against Russia’s strategic nuclear deterrent.
NATO and the United States insist that the shield would defend NATO members against missiles from North Korea and Iran and would not be directed at Russia.