Preemptive strike is an option
Russia has vigorously opposed President Barrack Obama’s plans for the Missile Shield in Europe; however a Russian general has now threatened to attack U.S. Missile Defense Sites. General, Nikolai Makarov, the chief of the General Staff of the Russian armed forces has warned the U.S. that the Russians could launch a preemptive strike on Missile Shield locations across Europe in the case of a crisis. While the Russians have always opposed the Missile Shield and said that they would attack the installations, this is the first time they have talked of a preemptive strike and it is likely to strain relations between the two countries.
General Makarov was addressing a conference on antiballistic missile policy in Moscow when he talked about the destabilizing nature of a missile defense system. “Taking into account a missile-defense system’s destabilizing nature, that is, the creation of an illusion that a disarming strike can be launched with impunity, a decision on pre-emptive use of the attack weapons available will be made when the situation worsens,” General Makarov said in his speech.
NATO plays down comments
However Alexander Vershbow, NATO’s deputy secretary general, played down the importance of the threat and said that NATO was working on to resolve what he called “differences in perception regarding the capability of the NATO shield”.
“I think a lot of the countermeasures described by General Makarov were familiar ones, but I’d have to go back and do research,” he told reporters in Moscow. “Clearly it is not something we welcome, by any means. We think the system we are developing poses no threat to Russia, so the whole notion of retaliation or countermeasures has no foundation.”