"When I first met with President Putin and talked about this, he
basically dismissed the idea that the Iranians would have a
missile that would have the range to reach much of Western Europe
and much of Russia before 2020 or so," he said. "And he showed me
a map that his intelligence guys had prepared. And I told him he
needed a new intelligence service, the Associated Press quoted
Robert Gates as saying.
Gates said that Putin acknowledged the danger of the Iranian
"The Russians have come back to us and acknowledged that we were
right in terms of the nearness of the Iranian missile threat and
that they had been wrong," he said. "And so my hope is we can
build on that, and perhaps at the president's summit meeting with
President Medvedev perhaps begin to make some steps where they
will partner with us and Poland and the Czech Republic, in going
forward with missile defense."
The statement was made against the background of the ongoing
negotiations between Russian and US experts about the new
Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty. The previous treaty, in
accordance with which the parties undertook to cut their nuclear
forces from ten to six thousand nukes, expires on December 5,
2009. The results of the talks will have to be exposed not later
than July 6, when US President Barack Obama visits Russia.
The United States pulled out from the Anti-Ballistic Missile
Treaty in 2002. Russia pulled out from the Strategic Offensive
Reductions Treaty in 2002 too, in response to the USAs decision.
The talks became quite complicated during the recent years because
of the intention of the previous US administration to deploy
elements of the US missile defense system near Russias borders
in Poland and in the Czech Republic. The US has already installed
similar elements near Russias Kamchatka, on the Aleutian Islands,
which belong to the USA.
The United States intends to create the missile defense system to
minimize the nuclear threat from Iran, North Korea and several
other rogue states. However, Russia claimed that the two countries
were unable to build long-range ballistic missiles. Therefore,
there was no need for the United States to deploy anything in
Eastern Europe. Russian leaders believe that the new elements of
the missile defense system pose a threat to Russias national
security. Furthermore, officials from both Poland and the Czech
Republic repeatedly stated that the system would be set up to
Russia offered the United States to use the radar station in
Armavir (the Krasnodar Region) and in Gabala (Azerbaijan). Will
Russia ever let the USA build a radar station on the territory of
the Russian Federation?