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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Soviet Response to Star Wars Good Against ABM

Defense Minister Igor Sergeyev dismissed a proposed U.S. national missile defense as ineffective, saying that it could easily be defeated by the old Soviet technologies developed in the 1980s to oppose Ronald Reagan's Star Wars plan.

"We had three mighty programs to asymmetrically counteract U.S. national missile defenses during Reagan's 'Star Wars,"' Sergeyev was quoted as saying by Interfax.

He didn't give details, but said that the Soviet Union had spent enough money on the programs to take them beyond the stage of research and development at the moment when they were halted.

"We still have them and can take them up again," Sergeyev said Monday.

Such methods could include adding more warheads to Russia's new single-warhead Topol-M missile or use of decoy warheads to confuse defenders.

Sergeyev said U.S. faith in its defense concept was misplaced.

"The Americans may regard these systems as unique, but we do not share their opinion," he said. "These are really complex technologies, but complex technologies, as a rule, are not reliable."

Sergeyev added that the Russian military could offer its U.S. counterparts proof that missile defense "wouldn't give absolute confidence in its inviolability."

"On the contrary, it will trigger a new spiral in the arms race and ruin the existing system of arms control," Sergeyev said.

Moscow has fiercely opposed U.S. proposals to modify the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty to allow for the deployment of a nationwide defense. U.S. officials say one is needed against threat from countries such as North Korea and Iraq.

President Vladimir Putin has told the new U.S. administration that Moscow expects the United States to abide by the ABM treaty.

U.S. officials dismissed Russian objections, and Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld said last Saturday that Russians were "off the mark" in calling the proposed modifications a threat to arms control. Rumsfeld insisted that the U.S. system would be too limited in scope to devalue the deterrent value of Russia's arsenal, which includes thousands of nuclear weapons.

Russian officials dismiss such assurances, saying the U.S. system could easily be expanded.