Reacting to Ukraine’s Deputy Prime Minister Alexey Reznikov’s speculations about his country hosting US air defense systems, Russian Duma’s committee for international affairs chairman, Leonid Slutsky, warned that the deployment of the systems could change the balance of force in the region and outside it, Russian media report.
Slutsky warned that the deployment of such forces- putting the accent on the fact that anti-missile system Aegis includes the launcher Mk41 which could launch not only interceptors but also cruise missiles- close to Russia’s borders will undoubtedly not remain without Russia’s retaliation.
He stressed that Ukrainian politicians are ready to sacrifice what is still left of its country sovereignty and the chance their citizens to live in security to prolonging their participation in the anti-Russia project.
Emphasizing Kiev’s concerns with regard to Russia’s alleged intention to deploy nuclear weapons in Crimea and its dominance over the Black Sea, Reznikov speculated about the need for expanding the ‘security package’ for Ukraine and suggested that Kiev has invited a permanent US troop presence and deplyment of anti-air defense rocket systems on its soil.
He also argued this could also erode Russian influence in the Balkans in a time when the controversial Nord Stream 2 natural gas pipeline is nearing completion, raising eyebrows in the Kremlin which described such a scenario a severe “red line crossing”.