BEIJING, March 3 ( ChinaMil) -- South Korea and the US are accelerating the deployment of the THAAD anti-missile system, which has triggered strong opposition from Russia as it worries that the system will penetrate its territory and undermine its security.
The US has unilaterally sought global dominance in anti-missile systems in recent years, especially using the NATO to deploy advanced anti-missile weapons in Europe. Russia has strongly opposed it all the way and taken a number of powerful and strategic countermoves.
US anti-missile systems threaten Russia
Anti-missile system has been a bone of contention of Russia and U.S. for a long time. In 2002, President George W. Bush’s administration unilaterally withdrew from the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty (ABMT) reached between the US and Soviet Union in 1979, resulting in conflicts between two countries.
After Obama took office, he proposed to "restart" the US-Russia relations and adjusted his predecessor's anti-missile deployment plan in Europe and handed it over to NATO, but that was just a superficial gesture and America's anti-missile systems continued to approach Russia's doorstep.
On May 12, 2016, America's Aegis anti-missile system in southern Romania was put into operation, and its Aegis anti-missile base in northern Poland started construction the next day, which is the last piece of the puzzle in NATO's anti-missile system when completed in 2018.
Russian President Putin said last May that although the US claimed to deploy anti-missile system in Eastern Europe for defense, but "this is part of U.S. nuclear strategic potential brought onto a periphery. In this case, Eastern Europe is such periphery".
Countermoves against US
Putin unveiled the latest edition of Foreign Policy Concept of the Russian Federation last November, which explicitly stated that Russia believes America's global anti-missile defense systems threaten its national security and reserve the right to take equivalent countermeasures. In face of the expansion of NATO's anti-missile systems, Russia has already adopted many targeted countermeasures to resolutely preserve its strategic interests.
First, it adjusted missile and military deployments to strengthen the capability of striking and destroying the NATO anti-missile system.
Russia has deployed the Iskander missile system that is capable of nuclear strike at the Kaliningrad on the border between Poland and Lithuania. The missile can arrive at main bases in Poland 10 minutes after being fired and is therefore used to aim at NATO anti-missile bases. Moreover, Russia decided to build three new army divisions in the west to counter NATO's military forces deployed "close to Russian border" last year. If a war broke out, Russian troops could exert their ground advantages and quickly hit NATO's anti-missile bases.
Second, it developed new-type ballistic missiles to intensify defense penetration capability and confound enemy anti-missile systems.
Russian Strategic Rocket Force is being installed with the RS-24 Yars intercontinental missile, which can carry at least four nuclear Multiple Independently Targetable Re-entry Vehicles (MIRVs). It is also developing the RS-28 Sarmat intercontinental ballistic missile that can carry 10-15 MIRVs, which, with a firing range of 17,000km and a warhead that applies cutting-edge defense penetration technology, is said to be able to penetrate all existing anti-missile systems and precisely strike any target on earth.
Third, it improved its anti-missile capability.
If the US anti-missile system is a shield, Russia’s system is not only a shield but also a spear. Apart from the widely known anti-missile systems like S-300 and S-400, its fifth-generation air defense system S-500 has come to the final stage. And its biggest advantage is the ability to directly intercept targets in near space, meaning it is able to precisely intercept intercontinental ballistic missile. Russian media reported that S-500 has a firing range of 600km and can detect and simultaneously strike 10 supersonic flying targets.
Fourth, it maintained vigilant and patient, and adopted diplomatic means apart from military deployments.
In addition to military purpose, America's deployment of anti-missile systems in Eastern Europe was also aimed to suppress Russia and stop or impede its rejuvenation. Russia keeps vigilant about this. Putin said in public that America's development of anti-missile systems will lead to a new round of arms race, but Russia won't be a part of it. In the meantime, Moscow will take all steps necessary to maintain the balance of international strategic forces.