19 December 2000
Russia warns of "measures" to counter US missile defense shield

MOSCOW (AFP) Dec 19, 2000 Russia will take measures to counter the military disadvantage that it will face if the United States moves ahead with plans to deploy an anti-missile shield, a top general was quoted by ITAR-TASS as saying Tuesday. General Valery Manilov, the number two of the Russian general staff, also said it would be a "bad decision" for the United States to forge ahead with a national missile defense (NMD).

"If this decision is taken against all logic, it will be a bad decision for the United States," said Manilov.

"Russia will be compeled to react to defend its national interests in a safe and efficient manner. Russia is able to take measures to compensate for the harm done" by the program, he said.

Russia and the United States have been at loggerheads over NMD, which Washington claims is necessary to defend the country against possible attacks from hostile countries like Iran or North Korea.

Moscow argues that the anti-missile shield would blow a hole in the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) treaty and cast doubt over the disarmament regime put in place over the past decades by the two nuclear powers.

New Secretary of State Colin Powell has come out in favor of pursuing NMD after outgoing President Bill Clinton put the plan on hold, saying that his successor would decide its fate.

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