Published : 2013-12-17 10:57
Updated : 2013-12-17 10:57
The United States has voiced its concerns to Russia over plans to move nuclear-capable missiles close to the borders of neighboring states, a US official said Monday.
"We've urged Russia to take no steps to destabilize the region," State Department deputy spokeswoman Marie Harf said, adding the US had also passed on to Moscow its neighbors' concerns at the plans to deploy Iskander-M missiles in the Kaliningrad area.
Poland and three Baltic states on Monday also expressed alarm that the missiles would be close to their borders.
"We certainly know the countries in the neighborhood have expressed concerns over it, and we'll keep talking to them about it," Harf said.
The Russian deployment comes in response to the planned US-led deployment of a disputed air defense shield, which Washington has long argued is not aimed at Moscow.
The advanced version of the Russian missile has a range of 500 kilometers (310 miles) and could potentially be used to take out ground-based radar and interceptors of the new NATO shield.
Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel told his Russian counterpart Sergei Shoigu via videoconference on Monday that a preliminary nuclear deal with Iran "does not eliminate the need" for the NATO shield.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov had put forth that a deal with Tehran to curb its suspect nuclear program would make the NATO shield – which Moscow has long opposed -- unnecessary.
"Hagel stressed that US and NATO missile defense efforts pose no threat to Russia and urged that both sides continue consultations on future missile plans in Europe," the Pentagon said in a statement. (AFP)