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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Rumsfeld in Cold War Time Warp, Says Angry Moscow

Moscow reacted furiously on Tuesday to weekend comments by U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, who repeated charges that Russia's exports of rocket and nuclear know-how had forced it to build a missile shield.

In an interview with the London Sunday Telegraph newspaper, Rumsfeld branded Russia "an active proliferator," a phrase that sparked uproar in Moscow when he first coined it last month.

He said the transfer of sensitive technology from Russia was helping hostile states like Iran and North Korea build weapons of mass destruction that could threaten the United States.

"The reason for these groundless, Cold War-style accusations becomes clear when these two exponents of military theory start listing the fragile 'reasons' for the creation of a national missile defense system (NMD)," said the ministry, referring to Rumsfeld and his deputy Paul Wolfowitz.

"It would appear that the new Pentagon leadership is experiencing some difficulty in adapting to the realities of the post-confrontational period," the statement said.

Washington says it needs a limited shield to counter the perceived threat posed by "rogue" states, and has vowed to push ahead with a $60 billion NMD scheme even at the cost of a landmark treaty that bans such systems.

Moscow opposes the scheme and any revision of the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty (ABM), saying the missile shield would undermine its own deterrent and trigger a new arms race.

Rumsfeld, who was also defense secretary under President Gerald Ford in the mid-1970s, said NMD was a direct of result of Russia's willingness "to sell anything to anyone for money".

Washington should use the billions of dollars it has given Moscow in aid and business to extract a pledge to halt the trade, he added.

But Russia's Foreign Ministry accused Rumsfeld, who has dismissed the ABM treaty as "ancient history", and Wolfowitz of behaving like a Cold War warrior trapped in a time warp.

"After eight years outside the corridors of power, senior members of the U.S. military agencies appear not to understand how much the world has changed during this time," it added.

"It is alarming that the categorical comments of Mr. Rumsfeld and Mr. Wolfowitz clearly go against the public position of the new U.S. president."

President George W. Bush said last week Russia was not an enemy but could become a threat in the future.