Russia’s Chief of Staff, General Nikolai Makarov, today said that the new START treaty with the United States on nuclear arms limitation was being hindered by US plans to deploy missile defenses along the Russian frontier.
General Makarov’s comments echoed those of Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Ivanov over the weekend, who insisted that “it is impossible to talk serious about the reduction of nuclear capabilities when a nuclear power is working to deploy protective systems against vehicles to deliver nuclear warheads possessed by other countries.”
Despite these fairly unambiguous comments, the White House insisted that the missiles were “no obstacle” to the new START, claiming as evidence only that Russian President Dmitry Medvedev hadn’t mentioned them in his most recent phone call to President Obama.
But Russia has clearly, and repeatedly, objected to American plans to put interceptor missiles in Eastern Europe. This objection cooled when President Obama abandoned a Czech-Poland deal, but it has since been replaced with plans to put them in Eastern Poland and Romania.