Russia Alarms: US May Extend Missile Shield to Bulgaria, TurkeyDefense | May 20, 2011, Friday // 15:40| views
Russia has alarmed that the US may be considering extending its planned missile shield in Poland and Romania to countries like Turkey and Bulgaria.
"Russia is deeply concerned that after Poland and Romania, elements of U.S. missile defense will emerge in the Czech Republic, Turkey, Bulgaria and some other NATO members," the deputy chief of Russia's general staff, Valery Gerasimov, told foreign diplomats Friday in Moscow, as cited by Bloomberg. "In the future, it may create risks for Russian strategic nuclear forces."
On May 5 2011, Bulgaria's Defense Minister, Anyu Angelov, declared the Balkan country will not be hosting elements of the US and NATO missile defense system in Europe, at least for the time being
The original missile defense in Europe plan of George W. Bush administration provided for stationing interceptors in Poland and the radar station in the Czech Republic. The modification of the plan by the Obama Administration switched it to sea-borne missiles and, later on, locations in southeastern Europe. Initially, there were reports and expectations that Romania and Bulgaria will replace Poland and the Czech Republic, respectively.
During its summit in November 2010 in Lisbon, NATO agreed to adopt the previously purely US missile shield project as its own. The summit did cast some serious doubts over Turkey's participation in the missile defense system because it insisted that its Muslim neighbor Iran should not be mentioned as a source of threat in the respective documents, and eventually prevailed.
The newly announced US Ballistic Missile Defense site in Romania is approximately 430 acres (175 hectares) and is located within the existing Romanian Air Base at Deveselu.
Deveselu is about 50 kilometers away from the Romanian-Bulgarian border. The closest Bulgarian location is the village of Zagrazhden between the towns of Oryahovo and Nikopol.
According to the US State Department, an estimated 200 military, government civilians, and support contractors will be required to operate the US facility at the site, but Romanian President, Traian Basescu, in his own TV announcement, said the number could reach 500.
A year ago, US Undersecretary of State Ellen Tauscher, declared that the United States has not asked Bulgaria to locate elements of the missile defense in Europe on its territory.
Bulgarian President, Georgi Parvanov, recently stated the country must become part of NATO missile defense, but the public will have to be informed with precision and detail. In a rare move, Defense Minister, Anyu Angelov, joined the President in this opinion.
The EPAA will provide protection of NATO European territories and populations, and augment protection of the United States, against the increasing threats posed by the proliferation of ballistic missiles from the Middle East, the US State Department points out.
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