On Jan. 27 Russian Prime Minister Dmitri Medvedev, in an interview with CNN's Fareed Zakaria, addressed the inflexible position taken by the Obama administration on the anti-missile shield. He said: "If we talk about the subject itself, it is extremely difficult. And so far we don't see any flexibility. There are no easy solutions in terms of anti-missile defense. There is no flexibility. We have not changed our previous positions—the U.S. has one opinion and the Russian Federation, unfortunately, has a different opinion. And these positions are not getting any closer."
He pointed out that Russia insists that the U.S. set out its assurances that the missile shield will not be directed against it in legally binding documents, something Washington has refused to agree to. "We clearly understand that if we do not have guarantees such as the pairing of our programs, that means that missile defense could also work against the Russian nuclear arsenal. What does this mean? This means that the parity, which we recorded with President Obama by signing the New START treaty (a very important and very helpful treaty, by the way: I think this is the achievement of the so-called reset), [the parity] is being cracked by that, because the missile defense is a direct continuation of nuclear offensive capability, combat nuclear weapons," Medvedev said.
On the Syrian crisis, Medvedev said: "From the outset, the Russian Federation was not an exclusive ally of Syria or President Assad," Medvedev said. "We used to have good relations with him and his father, but he had much closer allies among the Europeans." Russia has "never said that our goal was to preserve the current political regime, or making sure that President Assad stays in power," he added. "That decision has to be made by the Syrian people. The task for the United States, the Europeans and regional powers ... is to sit the parties down for negotiations, and not just demand that Assad go and then be executed like (the late former Libyan leader Muammar) Gaddafi or be carried to court sessions on a stretcher like (Egypt's) Hosni Mubarak."