Russia's strike weapons to counter US missile shield
Vladimir Putin said that Russia will counter NATO's US-led missile defense program by deploying new strike weapons capable of piercing the shield. He added that in future Russia may also work on developing its own missile defense systems. The Russian president also said that by developing defenses against ballistic missiles, Washington aims to "neutralize" Russia's strategic nuclear deterrent and gain a "decisive military superiority".
Initial talks and negotiations
In April 2007, NATO's European allies called for a NATO missile defence system which would complement the American national missile defense system to protect Europe from missile attacks. The same year US started formal negotiations with Poland and Czech Republic concerning placement of a site for Ground-Based Midcourse Defense (GMD) installations. This would protect most of Europe from long-range missile strikes from Iran.
NATO missile defense system
NATO missile defense system is being constructed by the NATO in several member states around the Mediterranean Sea. Plans for this system have changed several times since first studied in 2002, including as a response to Russian opposition.
NATO Ballistic Missile Defense (BMD) capability is based on voluntary national contributions. In early 2010, NATO acquired the first phase of initial NATO missile defense capability to protect Alliance forces against ballistic missile threats. At the November 2010 NATO Summit in Lisbon, NATO leaders decided to develop a BMD capability to pursue its core task of collective defence.
US scraps plans for missile defense sites
In September 2009, President Barack Obama announced that plans for missile defense sites in Poland and Czech Republic would be scrapped in favor of systems located on AEGIS US Navy warships. In turn, Russia cancelled the proposed Russian Iskander missile deployment nearby Kaliningrad.
NATO's BMD related activities
Currently, NATO is conducting three BMD related activities Active Layered Theatre (ALT) BMD System capability, BMD for the protection of NATO European territory, populations and forces and NATO missile defense cooperation with Russia. The aim of ALTBDM is to protect NATO-deployed forces against short and medium-range ballistic missile threats up to a 3,000-kilometre range. The first operational ALTBDM was fielded in early 2010.
NATO's missile defense cooperation with Russia
In 2003, under the NATO-Russia Council (NRC), a study was launched to assess possible levels of interoperability among the theatre missile defence systems of NATO and Russia. In 2012, NATO and Russia successfully conducted a computer-assisted missile defence exercise hosted by Germany. On 1 April 2014, NATO decided to suspend all practical cooperation with Russia in response to the Ukraine crisis.