Russia, NATO may hold missile defense drills in March

Russia and NATO are planning to hold joint computer-simulated missile defense exercises in Germany in March, Russian Deputy Defense Minister Anatoly Antonov said on Thursday.

The decision to conduct these drills was taken at the NATO-Russia Summit in Lisbon in November 2010.

“The exact timetable for the drills has not been determined yet,” Antonov said. “I think we may aim for March.”
Antonov downplayed the importance of the upcoming exercises in light of the current deadlock in missile defense talks between Russia and NATO.

Russia has proposed a joint system, while NATO favors two independent systems which exchange information.
Moscow is seeking written, legally binding guarantees that the U.S.-backed European missile defense network will not be directed against it. Washington, however, refuses to provide the guarantees, saying the shield is directed against threats from Iran and North Korea.

“Unfortunately, there has been no progress [in missile defense talks],” Antonov said. “It is a pity that the situation is not changing as our colleagues from the United States and NATO are still not ready to understand Russia’s concerns.”

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