Mar 15, 2013 / 7:05 pm
The Obama administration announced Friday that it is abandoning a key part of its European missile defence plan: an interceptor that had been strongly opposed by Russia. It cited development problems and a lack of money.
The cancellation of the interceptors, which were to be deployed in Poland and possibly Romania early next decade, offers a potential opening for new arms control talks. Russian officials suspect the interceptors were a counter to their missiles and had indicated that they would not consider further nuclear arms cuts unless their concerns were resolved.
Secretary of Defence Chuck Hagel announced the cancellation Friday as part of an overall restructuring of the missile defence plans aimed at stopping missiles from North Korea and Iran. He made no reference to Russia's objections to the European plans in his announcement. He said that other parts of the missile defence plans in Europe would move forward and that the U.S. commitment to missile defence in Europe "remains ironclad."
The restructuring includes spending $1 billion to add 14 new interceptors to the 26 that are in underground silos in Alaska to counter the threat from North Korea.
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