The chief of the General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces has warned the European countries planning to host the US-led NATO missile systems that Moscow considers the installations “priority targets,” as the systems possess offensive capabilities.
“The MK-41 vertical missile launchers that are part of AEGIS Ashore ground-based antimissile systems deployed in Romania and Poland can fire not only SM-3 anti-missile rockets but also Tomahawk cruise missiles,” General Valery Gerasimov said at a defense conference in the Russian capital, Moscow, on Thursday.
“The non-nuclear nations hosting ABM system elements are becoming priority targets for our countermeasure,” he warned.
“The deployment of US global anti-missile defense systems is seen by us as an additional step by the United States and its allies to destroy the current system of international security in its striving for world domination,” Gerasimov said.
He said, “It becomes obvious that continuing the implementation of US and NATO missile defense plans creates a real threat to Russian strategic nuclear forces.”
Gerasimov said the US and its NATO partners aim to “bring Russia to its knees” by fueling conflicts across its border, as in Ukraine.
“We don’t know what kind of orders the new Ukrainian authorities are receiving from their Western ‘curators’ and where Kiev’s aggression may be directed in the future,” he said.
Meanwhile, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said Washington has crossed all lines by attempting to drag Ukraine into its league as part of its wider plan to expand NATO and alienate Russia’s neighbors.
“NATO countries are actively pursuing an expansion of their geopolitical space, building up the military capabilities in Eastern Europe and closing in on Russia’s border. The focus of their drills in the alliance’s eastern front and Arctic region indicates their anti-Russian nature,” he said.
Shoigu also accused NATO of increasing the potential for war in Eastern Europe by practicing “the use of American tactical nuclear weapons deployed in several European countries.”