Russia Speaks of Nuclear War as U.S. Opens Missile Defense System

MOSCOW — As American and allied officials celebrated the opening of a long-awaited missile defense system in Europe with a ribbon cutting and a band, the reaction in Moscow on Thursday was darker: a public discussion of how nuclear war might play out in Europe and the prospect that Romania, the host nation for the United States-built system, might be reduced to “smoking ruins.”

“We have been saying right from when this story started that our experts are convinced that the deployment of the ABM system poses a certain threat to the Russian Federation,” the Kremlin spokesman, Dmitri S. Peskov, told reporters in a conference call.

“Measures are being taken to ensure the necessary level of security for Russia,” he said. “The president himself, let me remind you, has repeatedly asked who the system will work against.”

In Moscow, the Foreign Ministry spokeswoman, Maria Zakharova, said Russian defense experts consider the site a threat.

She said that the Aegis Ashore launchpad was “practically identical” to a system used aboard Aegis warships that is capable of launching Tomahawk cruise missiles.

“We have to announce this openly, without any additional diplomatic formulations,” Ms. Zakharova said of the Russian assertion the site violates the intermediate-range missile ban. “We are talking about violation of this treaty.”

Full article: Russia Speaks of Nuclear War as U.S. Opens Missile Defense System (NY Times)

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