26 October 2007: for immediate release
The Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament today reacted with great concern as President Putin underscored the seriousness of the situation surrounding the proposed deployment of US Missile Defence bases in Europe. He stated that “for us, technologically, the situation is very similar [to the Cuban Missile Crisis]”.
The comments [see note 2] made at the EU-Russia summit in Portugal note the parallel with events in 1962 where, in response to NATO missiles being sited in Turkey, the former USSR placed nuclear weapons in Cuba, within 90 miles of the US coast. Russia has strongly objected to the placement of interceptor rockets in Poland and a tracking radar in the Czech Republic.
Kate Hudson, Chair of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, said, “For some time CND has been warning that US proposals are leading us towards a new Cold War. Putin’s statement is the clearest indication yet that this is unfortunately coming true. At a time when we need to see fewer missiles and reduced tension, that this unnecessary system risks taking us back towards the Cold War way thinking is nothing short of a disaster. Britain must work to reduce tensions not exacerbate them. Instead of allowing the US to use radar and communication bases in the UK for this system, the British Government should be opposing the plans, which a majority of the public think put us at greater risk.“ [see poll in note 3]
She continued, “It is not surprising that Russia has concerns over the system when the original rationale of the programme is remembered – that of combating the USSR. Their concerns can only have been heightened when their offer to help the US by allowing the use of a radar station in Azerbaijan, closer to the supposed target of Iran was met with disinterest from the US. All this fuels Russian suspicion that the system has a broader purpose than Bush has stated. The repercussions from this suspicion should disturb us all.”
Notes to Editors:
1. For further information and interviews please contact Ben Soffa, CND’s Press & Communications Officer, on 0207 7002350 or 07968 420859
2. Putin said “I would remind you how relations were developing in an analogous situation in the middle of the 1960s….. Analogous actions by the Soviet Union when it deployed rockets on Cuba provoked the Cuban missile crisis. For us, technologically, the situation is very similar. On our borders such threats to our country are being created. Thank God, we do not have any Cuban missile crisis now and this is above all because of the fundamental way relations between Russia and the United States and Europe have changed”.
3. A CND/YouGov poll revealed that 54% of the public agree (compared with 24% who disagree) that “the siting of US missiles and early warning bases in the UK, Poland and the Czech Republic as part of the US National Missile Defence programme, increases the security threat faced by the UK and Europe.” 22% did not know either way. Total sample size was 2,049 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 26th – 30th July 2007. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all GB adults (aged 18+).
4. The Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) is one of Europe’s biggest single-issue peace campaigns, with over 35,000 members in the UK. CND campaigns for the abolition of all nuclear weapons everywhere.