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Putin Again Warns Russia Will Respond to U.S.-NATO BMD System

July 28, 2015 (EIRNS)—In case you missed it the first dozen times that Russian authorities at the highest level made it clear over recent years that they view the Obama administration’s deployment of its ballistic missile system on Russia’s borders, as an existential threat to their national existence, Russian President Vladimir Putin has again restated this policy in a systematic fashion. Putin took the opportunity of a July 25 interview with Swiss RTS TV in St. Petersburg, on the occasion of the preliminary round draw for the 2018 soccer World Cup, to deliver the following message—clearly reflecting the Russian government’s evaluation that the danger of escalating strategic conflict between the U.S. and Russia is severe and immediate:

"The process of starting a new arms race began from the moment of the United States’ unilateral withdrawal from the ballistic missile defense treaty. Because this agreement was a cornerstone for the entire international security system. And when the United States withdrew from it and began to create a missile defense system as part of its global strategic weapons system, we immediately said: we will be obligated to take reciprocal steps to maintain a strategic balance of power.

"I want to say something very important: we are doing this for ourselves, to ensure the security of the Russian Federation, but we are also doing it for the rest of the world, because this strategic stability ensures the balance of power."

When the Swiss journalist attempted to change the subject, Putin insisted:

"I want to come back to the previous question. A strategic balance allowed peace throughout the planet and prevented major military conflicts in Europe and throughout the world. And when the United States withdrew from that agreement, they said, we are creating a missile defense system that is not against you, and you want to develop a strike force; do what you want, we will assume it is not against us.

"And we are doing exactly what we had stated long ago. The global missile defense system is expensive and it is still unclear how effective it is. And we are developing strike systems capable of overcoming any missile defense system. And what I announced just recently has been in our plans for several years, and was publicly announced long before."

And after a second attempt by the interviewer to change the subject, Putin broke in:

"I still need to finish the previous question. All our strategic defense actions correspond fully to Russia’s international obligations, including within the framework of the agreement with the United States on strategic arms."

Putin also used the Swiss TV interview to reiterate his policy towards the United States. Asked if there was "a return to a kind of imperialist policy by the U.S.," Putin replied:

"A return? They have been conducting an imperialist policy for a long time... This position is not related in any way to anti-Americanism; we have a great deal of respect and love for the U.S, and especially for the American people... [But] unilateral actions and the expansion of jurisdiction by one nation beyond the territory of its borders, to the rest of the world, is unacceptable and destructive for international relations... We need to be patient and work with our American colleagues to find solutions."

Asked if a new war in Europe is possible, Putin said:

"I hope not. But I would really like to see Europe demonstrate some real independence and sovereignty and be capable of defending its national interests."