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  Response of Russia concerning deployment of the U.S. AMD system in Eastern Europe

Vadim Volovoj, Doctor in Political Sciences
2007 06 15

Russia’s opinion concerning deployment of the U.S. Anti-Missile Defense (AMD) System in Poland and Czech Republic is firmly negative. Therefore it could be worth while analyzing a probable response of Russia to the above American initiative, following the assumption of a military threat to Russia.

The above response could involve several aspects: political, military and legal.

One of the first tasks of Russia with a view to preventing from the deployment of elements of the above AMD system would be to set off the United States against Europe regarding the above issue, i.e. to reach firm response of the EU Member States in response to the unilateral actions of Warsaw and Prague. Since this could be very problematic, Russia might try to direct this unfavorable process to its advantage with a view to creating, together with the EU, the European AMD system. On 10 April, K. Kosachov, the Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee of Duma has again repeated that the proposal of Russia was still valid for the EU regarding the establishment of a common AMD system and that the EU and Russia would be humiliated if such a system was controlled by America. In this case the difference between the United States and Russia (as possible security guarantees of the EU) would be that: a) it is not clear what AMD technologies are better (in terms of price and efficiency); and b) the EU could cooperate with Russia on equal grounds, since Russia today is not a superpower as is the case with the United States, and cannot take the dominating role sought by the United States.

Societies of the EU Member States (among them the Polish and the Czechs) evaluate the wish of the United States to deploy its AMD elements in Europe negatively. A. Merkel, the chancellor of Germany which has taken over the presidency over the EU, said that the issue of deployment of the AMD elements in Europe should be considered in the NATO structures by involving Russia into discussions.  Efforts of Moscow in creating the European opposition to the AMD plans of the United States in Europe might bring tangible results in case if Russia manages to discredit the allies of the United States from the „new“ Europe as constantly hindering a constructive development of the relationship between Europe and Russia.

Another stage, during which Russia might prevent the United States from development of AMD plans, is the United Nations (UN). Recently a Russian representative in the UN V. Churkin said that deployment of arms in the cosmic space (without it the AMD practically loses its sense) might have consequences, which might be as serious as the consequences of the beginning of a nuclear era. Therefore Russia has already elaborated the international agreement on prevention of „star wars“. The above Russian incentives are also supported by China. In Munich V. Putin and S. Ivanov have also expressed their negative attitude towards militarization of cosmos. Certainly, the Americans could set a veto on any unfavorable agreement in the Security Council of the UN, however their image would again be lowered and Russia could benefit from that in Europe.

In principle, in the Eastern Europe the AMD of the United States should take over the Russian missiles during the initial stage of the flight.  Thus, it is worth while analyzing the characteristics of the Russian missiles of this stage. According to Y. Zaitsev, an advisor to the Academy of Engineer Sciences, the above take over could be executed given the range from the successor and the target is no more than 500 km (in case if target is a missile driven by liquid fuel) and no more than 300 km (in case if target is a missile driven by solid fuel).  The Russian solid fuel ballistic missiles  Topol-M are dislocated in Saratov and Ivanov regions (the distance from Poland – more than 1 thousand km). Therefore the American GBI (Ground-Based Interceptor) missiles could not take them over during the start. Besides, the first flight minute of Topol-M lasts for about a minute and ends in the height of 80-100 km; they can maneuver both in horizontal and vertical landscapes, and this makes their taking over quite problematic.

Other possible counter-measures of Russia against the AMD would be withdrawal from the Treaty of Medium and Short Range Missiles. However, this wouldn‘t be a meaningful step. First of all Russia would equal to America, which has terminated this Treaty. Secondly, Russia is not so rich as to manufacture Topol-M and Bulava (modification of Topol-M for maritime operations) and medium range missiles Pioner. Thirdly, renewal of their production would require huge additional funds, and the renewal itself would last no less than 5-6 years.  Finally, if Russia terminates the Treaty, the United States could also produce medium and short range missiles and deploy them near the Russian borders (for America this would be less time consuming operation).

In view of the above, for Russia it is not expedient to terminate the Treaty of Medium and Short Range Missiles. It is better to recall the complex of missiles Oka, the operational range of which was 400 km and it was also destroyed. The complex Iskander-E was created on the basis of Oka; in the nearest future it is envisaged to increase its operational range to 500 km.  The above complexes can be deployed in Kaliningrad and Belarus.

Another counter-measure capable of destroying the AMD elements of the United States in Europe, is aviation – both the conventional and strategic. In this case the strategic bombers TU-22M3 and TU-160 with the hyper-sound missiles would be the best (the cruise missile X-555 with the operational range of 5000 km has been successfully tested in Russia; its precision is 18-26 m, speed – 0,77 M, flight height – from 40 to 110 m).  Together with India Russia is creating a new hyper-sound cruise missile. Finally, with the help of aviation, the AMD elements can not only be destroyed, but also „dazzled“.

More rarely discussed counter-measures could also be mentioned: firstly, the usage of submarines (armed with missiles Granit) for destruction of the AMD elements; secondly, usage of Special Forces for occupation of AMD bases; thirdly, operations of AMD systems cannot be imagined without the satellites. Therefore, in case if there is no possibility to legally limit cosmos militarization, in the future Russia has to renew the establishment of anti-satellite military systems.

Today the issue of deployment of the United States‘ AMD elements in the Eastern Europe is in principle a political issue, although most probably in the future its military aspect will become more relevant. Therefore in this context Russia should consider not only political-legal, but also the effective military counter-measures.

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