Russia Says it May Launch Preemptive Strike On NATO Missile Defense System That US Is Building

Reacting to increased tension between Russia and the U.S., Russian Chief of General Staff Nikolai Makarov said that a Russian preemptive strike against NATO's anti-missile sites in Europe is possible.

At dispute is the U.S. building of an anti-missile defensive shield for NATO designed to protect Europe against "rogue states" ballistic missiles, such as Iran. NATO has said the shield is not designed to handle a large number of missile launches like Russia is capable of, while Russia has said the shield is a violation of the START anti-nuclear ballistic missile agreements between the US and Russia.

"A decision to use destructive force preemptively will be taken if the situation worsens," Makarov said. Meanwhile Russian Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov said consultations between the two countries is "close to a dead end."

"This will mean that the U.S.A. and NATO intend to develop the ABM [anti-ballistic missile] system without taking Russia's concerns into consideration," Serdyukov added.

In response to what Russia has called the United States' deaf ear, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev threatened to withdraw from the NEW START treaty last November if the situation is not resolved and that Russia would deploy missiles aimed toward U.S. defense installations in Europe.

Security experts have said Russia is just jockeying for a better negotiating position on a wide range of topics and will use the trumped up claim to get what it wants on other issues.

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