Missile shield not a threat

  • 2008-08-22
  • In cooperation with the Lithuanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Prototype for missile interceptor

VILNIUS - Lithuanian President Valdas Adamkussays that the deployment of the United Statesmissile defense elements to neighboring Polandconstitutes no threat to the Baltic states.

"This is an integral part of the NATO defense system and we see it justthis way. As the technology is advanced to the degree that it makes littledifference whether such defense system will be mounted in or further fromPoland, just as long as it efficiently targeted against terrorism, I believe itserves its purpose and I do not think it is a threat to the Balticcountries," Adamkus said at a press conference.

On Aug. 15, the US and Poland signed a preliminary agreement on thedeployment of the missile shield elements in Poland. An analogous treaty wasinked with the CzechRepublic earlier thisyear.

Washington plans to place 10 missileinterceptors in Polandbetween 2011-2013 and build a radar station in the neighboring CzechRepublic.The facilities will support the already operational missile defense system,with elements in the United States,Greenland and Great Britain.

Washington says that the shield, developmentof which was supported by all 26 members of NATO, is intended to serve asprotection from possible missile attacks from "villain countries," particularlyIran.

After signature of the treaty, Russian officials have made informal statementsabout Russia for the firsttime after the end of the cold war considering the possibility of deployingarms with nuclear warheads in its Baltic Fleet in the Kaliningradregion wedged between Lithuaniaand Poland.

The nuclear warheads may be supplied to the fleet's submarines, cruisers andbombers.

Russia informed Poland that a permit for US deploymentof missile defense shield elements in its territory might constitute a threatof nuclear attack.

Russia has also mentionedthat the nuclear missiles on its bases in Kaliningradand Belarus could betargeted at Western Europe. Russia also hinted at considering thepossibility of again dispatching troops to Cuba.