Russian military experts say the planned missile shield would, in its later stages, undermine the country's nuclear deterrent. Unless the US makes a legally binding pledge never to use the weapons against Russia and makes Moscow an equal partner in a joint system, they say, a new arms race with the West looks inevitable.
At a Defense Ministry meeting Tuesday, President Dmitry Medvedev said Russia was already preparing a range of countermeasures to defeat NATO missile defense, including forward deployments of tactical nuclear missiles in Russia's Baltic enclave of Kaliningrad.
"We are not closing the doors for communication, but we really need to prepare ourselves to the change of situation," Mr. Medvedev said. "We need to be fully armed by 2017-18 ... we must get ready for a serious rearming of the armed forces so that we could be in a due shape and capable to respond to the missile defense in Europe."
Russian experts say the Kremlin has been extremely disappointed by the lack of response to its concerns by the Obama administration.