Russia expresses alarm at US arms plans
MOSCOW (Reuters) – U.S. plans to develop some of its
strategic weapons could be destabilizing and dangerous since
they could lower the threshold of military response, Russian
Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Wednesday.
Lavrov, speaking on national security to the lower house of
parliament, also denied foreign reports that Russian military
power was in decline.
“Such findings try to fit reality to what people want to
think,” he said, quoted by Interfax news agency.
Lavrov, echoing concerns showed by President Vladimir Putin
last month, expressed alarm at U.S. plans to develop
low-powered nuclear charges and equip strategic long-range
missiles with non-nuclear warheads.
“Such plans could have a destabilizing effect, lower the
threshold for use of weapons and have destructive consequences
for nuclear non-proliferation,” he said in televised comments.
Lavrov’s remarks reflected the cool relations with
Washington since Vice President Dick Cheney on May 4 sharply
attacked Russia’s record on democracy and accused it of using
its energy exports to blackmail its neighbors.
Kremlin officials say that Pentagon plans to put
non-nuclear warheads on submarine-launched Trident missiles are
dangerous because it would be impossible to tell in flight what
sort of warhead they were carrying.
Lavrov, who repeated Russia’s strong opposition to former
Soviet Ukraine and Georgia joining the U.S.-led NATO alliance,
expressed misgivings about U.S. plans to station parts of its
anti-missile defense system in NATO members Poland and the
The United States was moving missiles to eastern Europe on
the grounds of defense against Iranian missiles, he said.
“There is a danger these planned anti-missile defense silos
could be used for secretly stationing ballistic missile
Lavrov said talks were going on with the United States to
clarify Washington’s intentions. “In parallel, we are also
expressing our concern and will try to get due consideration
for our interests,” he said.