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A 'New START' to an arms race between the US and Russia?

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For more than a year, Moscow and Washington have been negotiating on possible ways to cooperate on missile defense. The Russians would like to set up a joint European missile defense network with NATO, to make sure that the elements of the system – in a number of NATO countries, including Turkey – will not neutralize Russia’s nuclear warheads.

NATO, in contrast, has proposed the creation of two entirely separate systems that would exchange information. But the discussions have gone nowhere, and on Nov. 23, President Dmitry Medvedev finally threw in the towel, announcing the end of negotiations on missile defense cooperation.

Now Russia is warning it will deploy advanced conventional Iskander missile systems in its western and southern Kaliningrad and Krasnodar regions and neighboring Belarus if there is no satisfactory closure on the missile-defense issue. These missiles would be capable of targeting the NATO missile defense bases.

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