When the world gets closer.

We help you see farther.

Sign up to our expressly international daily newsletter.

Already a subscriber? Log in .

You've reached your limit of one free article.

Get unlimited access to Worldcrunch

You can cancel anytime .


Exclusive International news coverage

Ad-free experience NEW

Weekly digital Magazine NEW

9 daily & weekly Newsletters

Access to Worldcrunch archives

Free trial

30-days free access, then $2.90
per month.

Annual Access BEST VALUE

$19.90 per year, save $14.90 compared to monthly billing.save $14.90.

Subscribe to Worldcrunch

Russia Isn’t Buying NATO’s Missile Defense Assurances

Russia is wary of plans by NATO to build missile defense bases in Poland and Romania. The military alliance insists Moscow has nothing to fear, that Russia and NATO are not “enemies.” Why then, Russia would like to know, is NATO unwilling to build a joint

Russian 2K12
Russian 2K12
Elena Chernenko

BRUSSELS Russia remains highly suspicious about NATO plans to set up a strategic missile defense system in Eastern Europe. During meetings Thursday with NATO officials, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Moscow still needs "precise, hard guarantees' that NATO's new system will not be directed towards Russia.

Despite Russia's concern about the project, the United States plans to continue with preparation for the first two bases, in Romania and Poland. Washington says it plans to work with Russia, and hopes to use Russian radars as part of the project.

Anders Fogh Rasmussen, NATO's general secretary, declared that Russia and NATO are not "enemies," and will not be attacking each other. Lavrov, however, called NATO's assurances "absolutely insufficient," and said that Moscow's leadership strategy, in this situation, is "trust but verify."

"It is crucial that we complete a joint agreement regarding military-technological specifications of the entire U.S.-NATO missile defense system as concrete assurance that the system is not directed against any European Country, including the Russian Federation," said Lavrov. The Russian official said it is important also that the defense shield "is being constructed in accordance with its announced goals, meaning the neutralization of missile threats from outside Europe." He did not discuss how Russia would respond if it did not receive those assurances.

"Bring a flash drive"

At the same time, a whole line of ministers from NATO members expressed serious concern about Russia's intention to put a missile complex in Kaliningrad, the Russian enclave nestled between Lithuania and Poland, in response to the expansion of NATO's missile defense system into Poland.

Rasmussen said there would not be a misunderstanding between Russia and NATO if they were to actively collaborate regarding the missile defense system. He once again offered to create two information exchange centers to jointly evaluate risks and prepare research.

Moscow, however, doesn't consider the offer sufficient, and prefers that Russia and NATO should jointly create a missile defense system. NATO is not prepared for that. Rasmussen insisted Thursday that the information centers would be more than enough for Russia to see with its own eyes that the missile defense system is directed elsewhere.

A source at NATO reminded Kommersant that Russia can already access the technological specifications of the U.S. missile defense system, and that there is already a standing invitation for Russian experts to visit the American missile-interceptor test site in Colorado Springs. "I don't understand why the Russians refuse to go," the NATO employee said. "We are ready to show them everything - just put a flash drive in our computers."

But a source in Russia's foreign ministry said that NATO's invitation was nothing but fiction. "They'll let us see the missiles with binoculars, and there won't be anything important on the computers," the diplomat said. "The U.S. Congress has forbidden the military from giving Russia any classified information on the missile defense system. As as long as they don't trust us, an inspection would be useless."

Read the original article in Russian

Photo - Ed Brambley

You've reached your limit of free articles.

To read the full story, start your free trial today.

Get unlimited access. Cancel anytime.

Exclusive coverage from the world's top sources, in English for the first time.

Insights from the widest range of perspectives, languages and countries.

FOCUS: Israel-Palestine War

Bibi Blinked: How The Ceasefire Deal Could Flip Israel's Whole Gaza War Logic

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has pushed ahead a deal negotiated via Qatar, for a four-day truce and an exchange of 50 hostages for 150 Palestinian prisoners. Though the humanitarian and political pressure was mounting, Israel's all-out assault is suddenly halted, with unforeseen consequences for the future.

photo of someone holding a poster of a hostage

Families of Israeli hostages rally in Jerusalem

Nir Alon/ZUMA
Pierre Haski

Updated Nov. 22, 2023 at 8:55 p.m.


PARIS — It's the first piece of good news in 46 days of war. In the early hours of Wednesday, Israel agreed to a deal that included a four-day ceasefire and the release of some of the hostages held by Hamas — 30 children and 20 women — in exchange for 150 Palestinian prisoners, again women and children. The real question is what happens next.

For the latest news & views from every corner of the world, Worldcrunch Today is the only truly international newsletter. Sign up here.

But first, this agreement, negotiated through the intermediary of Qatar, whose role is essential in this phase, must be implemented right away. This is a complex negotiation, because unlike the previous hostage-for-prisoner exchanges, it is taking place in the midst of a major war.

On the Palestinian side, although Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh is present in Doha, he does not make the decision alone — he must have the agreement of the leaders of the military wing, who are hiding somewhere in Gaza. It takes 24 hours to send a message back and forth. As you can imagine, it's not as simple as a phone call.

And on the Israeli side, a consensus had to be built around the agreement. Benjamin Netanyahu's far-right allies were opposed to the deal — in line with their eradication logic — even at the cost of Israeli lives. But the opposition of these discredited parties was ignored, and that will leave its mark.

Keep reading...Show less

The latest