Russia threatens to quit START as US deploys ballistic destroyer to Spain

MOSCOW: Russia has said that it may be forced to quit the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) nuclear treaty, if the United States continues to enhance its anti-missile capabilities through NATO’s missile defense shield in Europe.

“We are concerned that the US is continuing to build up missile defense capability without considering the interests and concerns of Russia,” said Mikhail Ulyanov, the Russian Foreign Ministry’s top disarmament official.

“Such a policy can undermine strategic stability and lead to a situation where Russia will be forced to exercise [its] right of withdrawal from the [START] treaty,” he added.

The warning came a day after US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel announced the deployment of Navy destroyer USS Donald Cook, equipped with the Aegis shipboard integrated combat weapons system, to Spain.

The United States says the deployment is aimed at curbing possible missile threats from Iran while Russia considers the move as a national security threat.