-Defensive armaments can be used in either of two ways - in defense against potential attacks by aggressors or to cover offensive forces in the attack. Russia has clearly seen that, under President Obama, the U.S. deployment of missile defenses in Europe (and also the Persian Gulf and the Western Pacific) is of the second variety and is responding with what it considers appropriate measures. These include, among other things, the deployment, announced last year by then-Russian president Dmitry Mdevedev, of short range Iskander missiles to Russia's Kaliningrad Region to counter the European missile defense system. Russian Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov indicated, in an interview with the Itogi journal, that he is confident of Russia's ability to counter the U.S. system and that it isn't just aimed at Russia. "We are closely monitoring the work of our colleagues and understand its vector," Serdyukov said in the interview. "Russia's state military program, which looks ahead until 2020, solves many tasks and will help neutralize threats created by the U.S. global missile defense network."
Russia Today columnist Robert Bridge, in covering Serdyukov's remarks, notes that U.S. missile defense plans are unlimited in geographical scope, to include a major expansion underway in Asia, ostensibly aimed at North Korea, but targeting China in the long run. "This has some military observers warning that Russia could eventually find itself surrounded by a ring of NATO radar and missiles," Bridge writes.
In the Itogi interview, Serdyukov said, when asked if Russia had the means to meet any potential aggressor, simply said "We have them." When pressed for more information, he replied: "I would rather not go into details, but I can assure you that, in addition to our nuclear deterrent, which is in a very good shape, [Russia is researching] significant high-precision arms projects, among others." This may, in part, refer to an announcement, made last month, by Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin, of the merger of two defense companies for the purpose of developing hypersonic weapons technology. Shortly before Rogozin's announcement, Russian President Vladimir Putin told Russian servicemen participating in the Caucasus 2012 exercise that "You are all educated people and you see what is going in the world: that the use of force is on the increase in international relations. We must keep our gunpowder dry and raise the defense capabilities of Russia."
Bridge finishes his commentary by writing that the Obama Administration's early promises for a "reset" in relations with Russia were merely a cynical ploy to reduce anxiety about its missile defense plans. "While Washington was holding out flowers with one hand, it seems to have been concealing a club behind its back in the other," Bridge concludes. "Judging by Serdyukov's comments, Moscow was not fooled by the ruse."