U.S. Reaffirms That Russia Should be Cooperating on Missile Defense

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The U.S. State Department, responding to a Russian claim that it has tested a new long range ballistic missile, repeated on Tuesday a U.S. offer for Russia to cooperate on missile defense issues.

Deputy spokesman Tom Casey said he could not officially confirm a statement by Russian First Deputy Prime Minister Serge Ivanov that the test had occurred and that the missile could penetrate any defense system.

Casey said the Pentagon will examine Ivanov's statement.

He said nothing the United States is planning could be construed as a threat to Russia's strategic capability.

Russia has been concerned about the Europe-based missile defense system the United States has proposed as a means of deterring Iran and other so-called "rogue nations."

Casey noted that the system involves only 10 interceptors, "a very limited quantity that is designed to defend against a very limited attack."

"This is a threat that is there not only for the United States and its European allies, but also for the Russians as well. We would hope that the Russians would want us to cooperate on the issue of missile defense," he said.

National Security Council spokesman Gordon Johndroe said the "United States has made clear to the Russians that this missile shield is directed at other nations that could conceivably affect the peace of Europe. We will continue to make sure that Russia fully understands our intentions."