Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin minced no words when addressing the subject of NATO's missile defense plans to a NATO Parliamentary Assembly delegation in Moscow, today. He warned them that the missile defense system presents a threat to Russia's strategic potential and could trigger the militarization of Europe. "This missile defense concept is global and mobile, and it creates unpredictability,” he said. “That is the real Figaro; Figaro here and Figaro there." Rogozin added that Moscow is “awaiting explanations from NATO and Washington concerning the real purpose [of the system]"
Rogozin particularly singled out US/NATO plans to forward station four US Aegis missile defense system-equipped destroyers in Rota, Spain by 2015. The US currently maintains four ships in the Mediterranean Sea for the missile defense system, but they're homeported in the US. Homeporting them at Rota will greatly increase their availability and responsiveness, and this is what Rogozin was pointing to. He said that while these ships will be stationed some distance from Ruissian territory, "the same fleet will invariably appear in our northern seas under particular circumstances." "The radius of use of these weapons makes them a real threat to us,” Rogozin noted. “The strategic potential of Russia is a guarantee of its sovereignty and independence."
He urged the NATO delegation not to allow the militarization of Europe. "We request you not to do that: the Russian response has a rather virtual political and diplomatic nature for now, but you will not like the technical response we may give under certain circumstances," Rogozin said. Rogozin was referring to the potential deployment of short range Iskander missiles to Russia's Kaliningrad exclave, which would be targeted against NATO's missile defense installation in Poland.
Rogozin noted that the EU and Russia face common threats, and that Russia sees the EU as its strategic partner. “The 21st century should…represent the revival of Russia's full-scale presence in Europe's common political affairs, which would be of much benefit both for Russia and Europe,” he said.