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NATO Chief Counters Russia Threat As Waste


Russian Chief of General Staff Nikolai Makarov briefs military attaches on Russian military reform in Moscow on December 7.

Russian Chief of General Staff Nikolai Makarov briefs military attaches on Russian military reform in Moscow on December 7.

NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen says Russian countermeasures to the alliance's ballistic-missile-defense system would be a waste of money because they would be aimed at an "artificial enemy."

Rasmussen made the comment ahead of a two-day meeting of NATO foreign ministers in Brussels that will, among other things, review plans for the missile-defense system in Europe.

Earlier, the chief of staff of the Russian armed forces said Moscow was being pushed into a new arms race by the planned deployment of the system.

Speaking at a meeting with foreign military attaches, General Nikolai Makarov warned of a possible "sharp deterioration" of relations.

"The very idea of creating a missile-defense system can definitely bring about a sharp deterioration in our relations," Makarov said.

He said that Russia had begun the deployment of new weapons systems in its western exclave of Kaliningrad so that, once a NATO missile shield was operational, the nuclear deterrent between the two sides remained balanced.

Washington says the planned missile shield is meant to prevent a possible attack from countries such as Iran, but Russia fears it will make its nuclear arsenal ineffective.

NATO has rejected Russia's demand to jointly build a missile-defense system.

compiled from agency reports

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