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Listen to Putin’s Plain Talk on War Danger

June 2016

Vladimir Putin.

June 1, 2016 (EIRNS)—In his Athens press conference May 27 after meetings with the Greek government, Russian President Putin delivered an evaluation of the NATO threat and Russia’s necessary response, which is of the highest importance, and underscores the extreme danger of Obama Administration policy toward Russia. Replying to a question that combined economic and military-strategic issues, Putin underscored that the U.S.-NATO European Ballistic Missile Defense “Aegis Ashore” facility in Romania, which became operational in May as a Phase II element of the Euro BMD program, is viewed as a threat now, not only down the road two years when its missiles will be upgraded in Phrase III. In addition, Putin confirmed that Russia’s use, during its military operations against terrorists in Syria since Autumn 2015, of cruise missiles fired from ships in the Caspian Sea, and from strategic bombers that had flown to the Mediterranean via a route around the entire Atlantic perimeter of Europe, was meant as a demonstration of strategic capabilities, in addition to the immediate combat goals.

Here are excerpts, taken from the Kremlin official translation:

Putin: What is the impact of security-related issues on economic cooperation, in particular, the commissioning of the US anti-missile defence deployment area in Romania? What is the impact? The impact is negative, and it cannot be otherwise. Because some time ago the United States unilaterally withdrew from the Anti-Missile Defence Treaty and started what amounts to undermining the fundamentals of international security.

Yet another step has been made now. Since the early 2000s, we have been persistently repeating the same thing, like a mantra: we will have to respond to it in some way. Nobody listens to us, nobody is willing to have talks with us, we do not hear anything but platitudes, and those platitudes mainly boil down to the fact that this is not directed against Russia and does not threaten Russia’s security.

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Let me remind you that initially there was talk about thwarting a threat from Iran, it was all about the Iranian nuclear programme. Where is the Iranian nuclear programme now? It no longer exists. The United States themselves initiated the signing of the treaty with Iran. The Iranian nuclear threat does not exist, while the U.S. anti-missile deployment area is being created and was commissioned in Romania.

What is this? These are launch pads and radar stations. Today, 500-kilometre range land-based missiles are being deployed; in a few years they will be 1000-kilometre range missiles. We even know the approximate date when such missiles will be deployed. How can this not be a threat to us? It is a clear threat to our nuclear forces.

However, there is something else that is even worse: these compact launch pads can accommodate assault missiles with a 2,400-kilometre range, and replacing the missiles is no problem; one only has to change the software, and nobody is going to notice anything, even the Romanians. Isn’t it a threat to us? It certainly is. That is the reason we have to respond now, and if yesterday some areas in Romania did not know what it is like to be a target, today we will have to take action to ensure our security.

Let me repeat, these are response measures, a response only. We were not the first to take such steps.

The same will be done with regard to Poland. We will wait for certain actions to be taken in Poland. We are not going to do anything until we see missiles on the neighbouring territory. And we have the necessary resources. You saw, the whole world saw our capabilities in terms of medium-range sea and air based missiles. We are not violating anything, but the Iskander land-based missile systems have a brilliant record.

Incidentally, the fact that launch pads are deployed that may be charged with medium-range missiles is nothing short of erosion of the medium and short range missile treaty by our American partners. I think it is an obvious matter that requires the most careful consideration, and undoubtedly, the involvement of the parties concerned in detailed and substantial talks on these issues.