MOSCOW (Newsweek) -- Russia has accused the United States of lying about its missile defense intentions after a recent intercontinental interception test used technology Moscow officials say the Pentagon has assured them were not aimed at Russia’s long-range capabilities.
Two days after the U.S. military for the first time downed an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) with a missile fired from a warship, Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova branded the move "a new confirmation of the dangerous and destabilizing character” of Washington’s anti-ballistic missile strategy "and its obvious anti-Russian orientation.”
She took exception at the Pentagon’s use of a Standard Missile-3 (SM-3) Block IIA missile fired by Arleigh Burke-class destroyer USS John Finn to take down the ICBM launched from the Kwajalein Atoll in the Pacific Ocean. The weapon is a part of the Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense System, which Moscow has long suspected to be a major node in a U.S. global missile shield to undermine Russian military power, as opposed to the official U.S. line of countering regional threats such as Iran and North Korea.
"For many years our American colleagues assured us that the interception of Russian ICBMs by American Standard systems—including this modification—is technically impossible,” Zakharova told journalists, "and that they need a global missile defense system exclusively to counter some limited regional threats, recall the Iranian theme.”
"The recent test directly confirms the falsity of American assurances that the U.S. global missile defense system is not directed against Russia,” Zakharova said. "This is direct evidence of a concrete example of how Washington manipulated the public opinion of its country, lied to its international partners and justified its actions in the international arena with absolutely far-fetched pretexts.”
The SM-3 Block IIA missiles can also be found even closer to Russian soil, deployed to Aegis Ashore sites in Poland and Romania.
"Naturally, we will have to take the necessary response measures,” Zakharova said, "which we have talked about many times, proceeding from the tasks of ensuring national security and maintaining strategic stability.”