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    Russia Warns of Pre-emptive Strike Against NATO Missile Defences

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    NTDTelevision

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    Tension is on the rise between Russia and the US over NATO's missile defense system. Moscow believes the system targets Russia and says it could use force against NATO.

    Russia said on Thursday that it may use pre-emptive force against the NATO missile defense system if it considers the threat of it growing.

    Russia hosted an international conference on missile defense in Moscow on Thursday.

    Russian army officials showed computer simulation models to illustrate how they believe the planned U.S. and NATO missile shield threatens its security.

    [Nikolai Makarov, Russian Army Chief of Staff General]:
    "For the first time since the Cold War, on the European continent in close proximity to our borders, the deployment of military potential capable of making a negative impact on the effectiveness of Russian strategic nuclear weapons is being planned."

    NATO officials are hopeful an agreement with Russia will be reached before the NATO summit. But Russia believes their concerns are not taken seriously.

    [Anatoly Serdyukov, Russian Defense Minister]:
    "Finding a mutually acceptable solution for the missile defense issue has so far proved to be impossible. The situation has effectively reached a dead end. It is planned that on May 20 at the NATO summit in Chicago it will be announced that the initial operational readiness of missile defense has been achieved. This will mean that the USA and NATO intend to continue with missile defense without taking Russia's concerns into consideration."

    Washington says the shield, due to be completed in four phases by roughly 2020, is meant to counter a potential threat from Iran.

    But Moscow says the system will undermine Russia's nuclear deterrent because it could also give the West the ability to shoot down Russian missiles.