US THAAD deployment in South Korea great threat to Russia: Russian officials

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Moscow, March 8 (IANS) US deployment of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defence (THAAD) anti-ballistic missile system in South Korea poses a great threat to Russia’s security and will be factored into its foreign policy and military planning, senior officials of Russian Foreign Ministry said on Tuesday.

“The deployment of the US missile defence system in the region is clearly beyond the task of deterring ‘the North Korean threat’,” Xinhua news agency quoted Leonid Slutsky as saying, who is Head of the International Affairs Committee of the State Duma, the lower house of parliament in Russia.

“Washington is creating a new regional segment of the US global missile defence system in Northeastern Asia, close to the Russian border. This may put the security of our country at risk,” Slutsky said.

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The Defence Ministry of South Korea said earlier in the day that two mobile launchers and part of the equipment necessary for THAAD had arrived in an air base some 70 km south of the capital Seoul, Russian news agency TASS reported.

However, US THAAD deployment in South Korea is likely to put North Korea in a more powerful justification of developing its own nuclear programme or even flare up a military response accordingly, Konstantin Kosachyov, head of the Federation Council’s International Affairs Committee, said in an interview with Interfax.

“Any changes would directly affect the security of powers such as Russia and China. To behave as if all this is purely a bilateral affair of the two Korean states is highly irresponsible,” the senator said.

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According to Mikhail Ulyanov, Director of the Department for Non-Proliferation and Arms Control of the Russian Foreign Ministry, Moscow will take into account US deployment of the THAAD complexes in South Korea in military planning and foreign policy activities, as these steps lead to an aggravation of the situation in the region.

“We, of course, will take these actions into account in our foreign policy activities… We will take this into account in military planning,” Ulyanov was quoted as saying by RIA Novosti.



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