Moscow, Nov 29: In its bid to counter Western plans for a US missile shield in Europe, Russia today launched a state-of-the art antimissile radar with a detection range of 6,000 kilometres, close to the borders of NATO alliance members Poland and Lithuania on the Baltic coast.
Sticking to his last week's threat to take steps to counter US-led NATO missile defence system in Europe posing mortal danger for Moscow's nuclear deterrence, President Dmitry Medvedev said, “This is the first signal of Russia's readiness for an adequate response to the threats posed by European AMD to our strategic nuclear forces.”
He was addressing the top military commanders after inaugurating the anti-missile radar in Russia's Baltic Exclave of Kaliningrad.
The Voronezh-DM radar station has been working in test mode for the whole of 2011. There were no technical failures over this period, Interfax news agency reported, quoting a source in the Defence Ministry.
With the effective detection range of 6,000 kilometres, the Voronezh-DM is capable of working in tandem with Moscow's missile defence system.
“If our signal is not heard, as I said on November 23, we will continue deploying other means of defence,” Medvedev said in his televised remarks.
“When they tell us ‘this is not meant against you,' I would like to say the following today - dear friends, this radar station that started its work today is also not meant against you. But it is meant for us and for the tasks that we set before us,” Medvedev said.
Russia, which after the rejection of its idea of a common East-West missile defence system, is seeking legally binding guarantees from the US and NATO that the European AMD will not target Russian strategic nuclear assets.