Putin warns of retaliation against U.S Missile shield in Europe
Russian President Vladimir Putin has warned that he would have no choice but to retaliate against the United States over the country’s missile defense system in Europe.
Putin, while speaking on a trip to Athens, Greece, Friday said he will have to respond after the U.S. deployed its missile defense in Romania and Poland.
“If yesterday in those areas of Romania people simply did not know what it means to be in the cross-hairs, then today we will be forced to carry out certain measures to ensure our security. It will be the same case with Poland,” Putin said after meeting with Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras.
Putin, who has decried the U.S. missile defense system as a threat to Russia’s security, was short on details about exactly how Russia would retaliate against the missile shield, saying only that Russia was not making the first move and simply responding to the U.S.
“I’d like to reiterate that these are countermeasures, we are not making any first steps,” he said.
Washington has not responded to Putin’s latest comments on the missile defense system.
The Deveselu missile facility in Romania became operational earlier this month, and while the U.S. and NATO have repeatedly said the system is completely defensive, Putin said the missiles could easily be transformed into offensive weapons “by simply switching the software.”
“NATO fends us off with vague statements that this is no threat to Russia … That the whole project began as a preventative measure against Iran’s nuclear program. Where is that program now? It doesn’t exist,” Putin said referencing the nuclear agreement President Barack Obama struck with Iranian leaders last year.
Putin is on a two-day visit to Greece.
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