5 May 2012

Threat issued by Russia over missiles

5:40 am on 5 May 2012

Moscow says it could launch a pre-emptive strike against a European missile defence shield, if NATO and the United States push ahead with plans to build one.

The statement was made by General Nikolai Makarov on Thursday during a defence conference in the Russian capital. Talks between the two sides are said to be deadlocked.

General Makarov repeated Kremlin threats to deploy more missiles in southern and northwestern Russia for potential strikes against the installations and said Moscow could act pre-emptively if it saw the need.

Ahe missile defence system is due to be completed in four phases by about 2020. It includes interceptor missiles based in Poland and Romania. The United States says it is meant to counter a potential threat from Iran and presents no risk to Russia.