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The Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament today expressed strong concern about the US/Polish agreement to install missile defence interceptors in Poland. At a time of increased international tension over Georgia, this decision will further destablise relations between Russia and the United States and its allies.

The Missile Defence system potentially allows the United States to launch attacks on other countries without fear of retaliation. Although the US administration insists that the system is designed to counter future threats from ‘rogue states’, it is widely interpreted as being aimed at Russia and China.

Russia has expressed strong objections to US plans to install missile defence facilities in central Europe, comprising a radar in the Czech Republic and interceptor missiles in Poland. There is also strong opposition from the populations in those countries, who fear that the facilities will put them on the front line in future US wars.

Until the last few days, the Polish government had stalled on the deal, asking for a battery of patriot missiles to protect it from potential Russian attack on the missile defence facilities. This had not been agreed until yesterday, when the US came up with a package to win Polish agreement, including the modernisation of the Polish armed forces, a battery of patriot missiles, and a garrison of US servicemen.

Kate Hudson, Chair of CND, said, ‘There could not be a worse time to take this decision. With increased tension with Russia over Georgia, this provocative step is bound to escalate tensions even further. Russia has been extremely concerned over the development of missile defence in central Europe, fearing that it is the target. The rejection by the US of Russian offers to cooperate with the US and provide facilities, only serves to compound this fear.’

‘The rapid expansion of NATO, including within the former Soviet Union, together with missile defence expansion, have set alarm bells ringing in Moscow. The increasing encirclement of Russia by US and NATO bases and facilities, taken together with the Georgian attack on South Ossetia, are seen as aggressive and provocative. The Russian government has already indicated that it will target missiles on Western Europe again if missile defence goes ahead. In the space of a few days, the world has not only been fully plunged into a new cold war, but Europe has been involved – by the US – in an increasingly dangerous situation not of its choosing.’

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Notes to Editors:

1.       For further information and interviews please contact  CND’s Press Officer, on 0207 7002350 or 07968 420859
2.       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.