Top Russian Military Official Outlines European ABM Plans

Moscow RIA  1544 GMT 11 Jun 00 

   Top Russian Defence Ministry official Col-Gen 
Leonid Ivashov has laid out far-reaching plans for a pan-European ABM 
system.   He said that the Russians envisaged wide-ranging cooperation 
beginning with expert consultations between Russia and European NATO 
states, leading to a joint conception for an ABM system containing 
specific proposals, if a missile threat was found to be present.   He 
added that the Russian view of the system did not envisage total cover 
across Europe, but saw it as a way of coordinating existing systems.   
The text of the report by Russian news agency RIA follows: 

    Moscow, 11th June:   The Russian side thinks that the idea put 
forward by President Vladimir Putin to create a nonstrategic European ABM 
system to cover Russian territory will be implemented gradually and 
consistently if it is approved by the European NATO member states, RIA 
was told by the head of the main department for international military 
cooperation at the Russian Defence Ministry, Col-Gen Leonid Ivashov. 

    He said that the first step towards implementing Putin's idea, which 
was set out by Defence Minister Igor Sergeyev at a session of the 
Russia-NATO Joint Permanent Council [JPC] on 9th June in Brussels, into 
practice should be the joint expert consultations proposed by the Russian 
side on the nonproliferation of weapons of mass destruction and means of 
obtaining them, which NATO is already prepared to start. 

    Subsequently, if the NATO members respond positively to the Russian 
initiative at the next session of the JPC at the level of defence 
ministers in Brussels in December, Russia and NATO, while developing 
cooperation in the field of the nonproliferation of weapons of mass 
destruction, would come to a joint assessment of the real missile 
threats.   The sides would then be able to decide whether or not there 
really was a threat, Ivashov said.   If the conclusion was drawn that 
there really was a threat, work on a joint assessment of the level of the 
threat would begin.   The work would establish the range of the missiles 
from third countries presenting a threat to Europe and Russia, and which 
countries would be within the missile range. 

    Eventually, Ivashov said, a conception of a pan-European nonstrategic 
ABM system would be drawn up jointly.   The content would be specific:   
the creation of a multilateral early warning centre, development of 
existing radar centres and missile launchers and joint work on new ones, 
with joint exercises to test them, research and experiments, the setting 
up of an ABM subdivision to deal with the ballistic missiles, territory 
and facilities of European countries and Russia. 

    "Full antimissile defence the length of the perimeter of the borders 
of Europe and Russia is not planned," Ivashov said.   "It is intended to 
concentrate all that we already have, coordinating ABM systems, obtaining 
opportunities to destroy ballistic missiles and opportunities in the 
command structure, and directing those opportunities in directions 
presenting a missile danger." 

    He said that the systems should cover peacekeeping contingents, and 
the civilian population and civilian facilities as well as military 
facilities, damage to which could cause significant harm to civilians. 

    The Russian side has no doubt that "NATO members will not start 
purchasing Russian ABM systems on a large scale, like the modernized 
S-300PMU or the new S-400, which can effectively combat ballistic 
missiles, although NATO's European members do not have systems like 
these", Ivashov said.   Moscow does not in any case intend to extend its 
missile technology to NATO countries, and Sergeyev said this frankly in 
Brussels a few days ago. 

    The Russian side considers that there will be a bilateral process of 
cooperation in this matter, Ivashov said.   "The area of radar could be 
based on Western European or even American technology, and ABM systems 
linked with the radar area could be Russian, but with some NATO 
components which meet NATO standards added," he said by way of example.   
This sort of cooperation has already taken place in the S-300 systems 
Russia supplied to Greece and which are now successfully on alert duty 

    One of the aspects of the Russian idea of developing a nonstrategic 
European ABM system is the relatively low outlay required to implement 
it, since a number of elements needed for the system would not require 
great outlay.   These include assessing missile threats, exercises and 
research, and drawing up a conception, Ivashov said.