U.S. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta escorts Polish Minister of National Defense Tomasz Siemoniak to the Pentagon as they walk past an Honor Cordon on their way to a private meeting on July 25, 2012
Washington and Warsaw keep closely discussing the deployment of a U.S. new-generation ballistic missile defense interceptor site in Poland by 2018, Pentagon spokesman George Little said.
U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta met on Wednesday with his Polish counterpart Tomasz Siemoniak to discuss besides other issues the deployment of the U.S. missile shield elements in Europe.
“Panetta thanked Siemoniak for Poland’s leadership on NATO Ballistic Missile Defense [BMD]. Poland was the first nation to establish a BMD agreement with the United States… The two nations are working closely together to establish an SM-3 ballistic missile interceptor site in Poland by 2018,” Little said in a statement.
The Standard Missile-3 (SM-3) Block IB is designed to intercept and destroy short to intermediate-range ballistic missile threats and is an essential component of an anti-missile system the United States is building in and around Europe.
Moscow has long opposed the deployment of U.S. missile defenses near its borders, arguing they would be a security threat and could destroy the strategic balance of forces in Europe.
The United States scrapped plans in September of 2010 for an anti-ballistic-missile defense system in the Czech Republic and Poland. Moscow welcomed the move, and Russia’s then-President Dmitry Medvedev said later that Russia would drop plans to deploy Iskander-M tactical missiles in its Kaliningrad Region, which borders NATO members Poland and Lithuania.
Russia’s position on missile defense in Europe
Last year, however, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced Washington's plans to deploy missile defenses and Air Force units in Poland.
Russia and NATO agreed to cooperate on the so called Euro missile defense system at the Lisbon summit. NATO insists there should be two independent systems that exchange information, while Russia favors a joint system.