Russia says US anti-missile defence system will spark new arms race

Defence ministry also says US patrols in Black Sea are a potential threat

Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) interceptors arrive at Osan Air Base in Pyeongtaek, South Korea
Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) interceptors arrive at Osan Air Base in Pyeongtaek, South Korea

The Russian Defence Ministry has said the US's deployment of an anti-missile system will spark a new arms race.

The ministry also warned the deployment is a threat to world security designed to contain Russia and China.

“The presence of the global ABM [anti-ballistic missile] system lowers the threshold for the use of nuclear weapons, because it gives the US the illusion of impunity for using strategic offensive weapons from under the protection of the ABM ‘umbrella,’” Viktor Poznikhir told a disarmament conference in Genev, according to a translation by the state broadcaster RT.

“The ABM shield is a symbol of the build-up of rocket forces in the world and a trigger for a new arms race."

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The US has deployed its THAAD (Terminal High Altitude Area Defense) missile system in South Korea in response to North Korea's increasingly provocative ballistic missile tests.

It is designed to shoot down short, medium and intermediate range ballistic missiles.

The Russian defence ministry also said it regarded US naval patrols in the Black Sea as a potential threat to its safety, because it was unclear what kind of missiles the ships were carrying.

Russia, which illegally annexed Ukraine's Crimea in 2014, has its own Black Sea Fleet based at Sevastopol.

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