Russia's military chief of staff criticized on Wednesday US plans to deploy missile defense systems in Europe, saying the planned move is a mistake.
Russia sees the plans as "an erroneous step with extremely negative consequences for international security," Gen. Yuri Baluyevsky was quoted by the Interfax news agency as saying.
"The formation of a US missile defense base in Europe cannot be viewed otherwise than as a serious re-configuration of US military presence," he said.
The United States is in talks with NATO members Poland and the Czech Republic in search for a base to deploy missile defense systems in eastern Europe.
Baluyevsky said the deployment of a European missile defense shield is "an unfriendly step" to Russia.
"The possible area of interception of ballistic missiles will cover a significant part of Russia's European territory," he said.
Baluyevsky criticized US claims that the missile defense system will not have any serious impact on Russia's nuclear deterrence potential and only aim to counter missile threats from certain Asian states, saying these arguments are only an excuse.
(Xinhua News Agency December 14, 2006)