Moscow does not trust Washington’s statements that the US missile defense system in Europe is not aimed against Russia, says Russian Vice-Premier Dmitry Rogozin.
However, Russia expects that after his re-election, US President Barack Obama will show more flexibility and take into account Russian and other country’s opinions on the configuration of the American-backed NATO defense shield.
“At least we hope so,” Rogozin said at a Moscow conference on nuclear disarmament on Thursday.
Obama secured a second term in the White House by defeating Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney in Tuesday’s vote.
In March this year, Obama was accidentally caught on an open microphone at a summit in Seoul telling the then Russian President Dmitry Medvedev that he would have “more flexibility” on the missile defense issue after the November election.
The two powers have been at odds over the fortification NATO builds in Europe to intercept ballistic missiles. Russia fears the system deployed close to its borders would pose a threat to its national security. The US keeps assuring that it is not the case, but has so far failed to provide any legally binding guarantees.
“As for public statements that US missile defense is not aimed against Russia – we don’t take them at their word. [Soviet President] Mikhail Gorbachev did trust words, but we don’t,” stressed Rogozin, who oversees the Russian defense industry. "We're bad guys," he added.
Perhaps, the missile system is not targeted “against us, but it’s definitely not for us,” the senior Cabinet member observed. “There’s small choice in rotten apples,” he added, as cited by Itar-Tass.
Later, the Vice Premier noted that his comment about “bad guys” was a joke.
“In fact, we’re good guys,” Rogozin wrote in his Twitter micro-blog.
Meanwhile, the US maintains it cannot provide legal guarantees because of the unpredictability of the threat coming from Iran.
“It has nothing to do with Russia. We can’t constrain our military forces against a threat because the threat is a variable, it is not a constant," American Ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul told Interfax on Wednesday. "We have to protect the American people and we are not going to restrain ourselves in that regard."
According to the diplomat, legal guarantees are one thing, while “transparency, cooperation and trust” that can exist without signing treaties is completely another. Such a thing is very common in the business world, he added.
McFaul is pretty optimistic that the missile defense issue will stop being a stumbling block in relations between Russia and the USA.