BEIRUT, Lebanon – The Kremlin is gearing up for a standoff with the United States over U.S. installation of an anti-ballistic missile system in Europe and has gone so far as to threaten a military strike of the sites. But now the prestigious USA and Canada Institute in Moscow has issued a report written by former Russian generals contradicting the official Russian position that their strategic ballistic missile capability would be threatened, according to a report in Joseph Farah’s G2 Bulletin.
In repeated discussions with the Russians, the United States and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization members insist the anti-ballistic missile defense system, which is just becoming operational in some parts of Europe and Turkey, is aimed to deter Iranian missiles.
The Russians insist that it would threaten their ballistic missile strategic capability, forcing them to have to develop a new generation of intercontinental ballistic missiles at great expense to counter the European anti-missile shield.
The study focused on the implications of the anti-ballistic missile problem, calling into question “alarmist assessments” and “excessive exaggeration” of the technical capabilities of the U.S.-supplied European missile defense system.
The report determined that Russia already has assets to overcome the missile defense system and that many assessments of the system from policymakers are based on “worst case scenarios.”
The background of the report’s authors underscored the importance of the study. It was written by Sergei Rogov, director of the USA-Canada Institute; retired Maj. Gen. Pavel Zolotaryev; retired Col. Gen. Viktor Yesin, former chief of the main staff of the Strategic Missile Troops; and Vice Admiral Valentin Kuznetsov, who was Russia’s chief military representative at NATO from 2000-2008.
The report’s main thrust said that the U.S. strategic missile defense system will not jeopardize Russia’s strategic nuclear forces now or in the foreseeable future.
“The U.S. strategic ABM system has only a ground-based intercept echelon with limited capabilities (with two ground-based interceptors in two regional positions),” the report said. “The current American strategic ABM system can intercept several primitive ICBMs if the attacking side does not employ assets that counter anti-missile defense.”
Such systems would include maneuvering during flight, using false targets, jamming information systems.
The report added that the U.S. strategic interceptors have never been tested against an ICBM.
“Tests have been conducted only in intercepting medium-range missiles, and only for a predetermined time and a predetermined and known flight trajectory,” the report said.
“There has not yet been a single successful intercept in conditions where an enemy has launched false targets.”
The report also pointed in detail to yet unresolved software issues with the U.S. missile interceptor system. In addition, the anti-missile system would need from five to 10 missile interceptors to knock one missile down, the report said.
“Until at least 2020,” the report added, “this system cannot have any meaningful effect upon reducing the potential of Russia’s strategic nuclear forces, which are now undergoing a substantial modernization.”
Given this report, it remains to be seen just how adamant the Kremlin will be pursuing its initial threats, especially as Russian Chief of the General Staff Nikolai Makarov is to visit the U.S. to discuss missile defense.
Russian Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov still insists that Russia will take steps in response to U.S. actions, even if it means spending vastly greater sums of money which he contends “could be avoided.”