New arms race has begun
Just one day before the G-8 Summit is scheduled to begin, Russian President Vladimir Putin stated during an interview on Sunday that Russia will point their nuclear missiles at major European cities if the United States sets up any kind of missile defense system in Europe. Putin also said that a new cold war has begun with “the west” and that a “new arms race” has begun.
This statement came after the U.S. announced plans to build several missile defense systems based in Poland and the Czech Republic. These defense systems will include radars and missile interceptors. The U.S. states that the planned defense system is to stop incoming nuclear missiles from North Korea and Iran.
Putin says the planned missile shield in Poland and the Czech Republic will put “an integral part of the U.S. nuclear arsenal” on Russia’s doorstep and upset the world strategic balance.
When Putin was asked by a reporter if Russia would consider pointing their nuclear missiles at Europe, Putin replied “of course we are returning to those times. It is clear that if a part of the US nuclear capability turns up in Europe, and, in the opinion of our military specialists will threaten us, then we are forced to take corresponding steps in response.”
Putin continues: “What will those steps be? Naturally, we will have to have new targets in Europe. We want to be heard, we want our position to be understood. But if that does not happen, we lift from ourselves any responsibility for the steps we take in response, because we are not the ones who are initiating the arms race in Europe.” Following the collapse of the Soviet Union and the end of the Cold War, Russia removed European targets from its rocket guidance systems.
Putin will be meeting directly with President Bush during the G-8 summit, which begins Wednesday.