Grushko mentioned a current pause in the Russia-NATO talks. He declined to elaborate. “Meanwhile, we expect our partners to provide us with guarantees that the European missile defense system is not directed against Russia,” Grushko said.
"These guarantees, he said, should be given in the form of clear-cut military and political criteria confirming that the missile defense system will be directed against the risks that are being generated outside the Euro-Atlantic region. Getting such guarantees will make it possible to start dealing with possible parameters of this system. Its creation could herald a new stage of relations between Russia and NATO. If we fail to implement this project due to political reasons, it will mean that the sphere of common interests is divided into demarcation lines and the Cold War stereotypes are still in place."
The beginning of December will see a session of the Russia-NATO Council in Brussels, where the Foreign Ministers are due to discuss European security and the development of the European missile defense shield.
The US missile shield is expected to be high on the agenda of negotiations between Russian President Vladimir Putin and his US counterpart Barack Obama. In a telephone conversation earlier this month, the two men agreed to sit down for parleys in Moscow in the immediate future. The exact date is yet to be announced. Russian Presidential aide Yury Ushakov said that the talks will focus on the whole complex of bilateral relations. In this sense, Russia may opt to hope for decisive steps to be taken by Barack Obama, says Pavel Zolotarev of the Moscow-based Institute for US and Canadian Studies.
"During his first presidential term, Obama was concentrating on his possible re-election, which is why he trod carefully on reaching a consensus with Russia. Moscow, in turn, referred to a wait-and-see tactics, something that finally bore fruit," Zpolotarev said.
In March 2012, Obama met then-Russian President Dmitry Medvedev on the sidelines of the Nuclear Security Summit in Seoul, where the US leader promised more flexibility on missile defense. Right now, Moscow wants Obama to confirm his pledge, believes Fyodor Lukyanov, editor-in-chief of the Russia in Global Affairs magazine.
"I think, Lukyanov said, that such a flexibility will mean that Obama may postpone the implementation of a final stage of the European missile defense system, something that especially dismays Moscow. Additionally, Russia wants more transparency related to the US side developing the missile shield in Europe."
Experts point to Obama’s restricted possibilities to show flexibility in his country’s relations with Russia. First and foremost, such a drive will be contained by the US Congress, analysts say, referring to the House of Representatives, where Republicans retain control. They are loath to arrive at a political accommodation with Russia on missile defense, a topic that Moscow insists may be resolved if Washington shows a political will and resolve to break the Cold War stereotypes.
Russia's envoy to NATO Alexander Grushko has said Moscow is ready to resume the dialogue with NATO on the US-led anti-missile shield but will only agree to it if the alliance meets its terms.
He said Moscow has been waiting for a response from NATO ever since the talks were put on hold.
Mr. Grushko added that Russia hasn't changed its stand on ABM in that it expected certain legal guarantees from allies that the shield wouldn’t target its nuclear facilities.