Russia could deploy missiles to its EU borders aimed at missile defence facilities in Europe planned by the United States.
Iskander missiles, which have a range of up to 500 kilometres, may be stationed in the Kaliningrad enclave, if Washington goes ahead with a defence system whose sites would be in countries close enough to pose a threat to Russia.
NATO had been trying to broker a deal for Russia’s cooperation with the US plan, but refused Russia’s proposal to run the system jointly.
Russia’s President Dmitry Medvedev had strong words in a televised address.
“Once again I want to say that we are not closing the door on further talks with the US and NATO about the anti-missile defence project or about our practical cooperation on this issue.
“We are ready for this, but both nations should proceed with a written agreement to clearly mark this cooperation. An agreement on this basis would produce a guaranteed result and control of Russia’s legitimate interests,” he said.
Romania, Poland, Turkey and Spain have already agreed to hosting the sites needed for the US defence system. In turn, Russia’s missiles would be on its borders with Poland and Lithuania.
President Obama’s administration insists the missile shield would only be for defence against potential threats from nations like Iran and wants the system ready by 2020.
Nevertheless, Moscow believes it could be a threat to Russia’s nuclear forces.
In 2009, both countries hit the ‘reset button’ in their relationship.
However, the situation has become strained again after the US on Tuesday decided to stop sharing data with Russia about limiting conventional weapons in Europe.