MOSCOW, Dec. 7 (Xinhua) -- Russian armed forces have started taking measures to counter a European anti-missile defense deployment led by the United States, Chief of the General Staff Nikolai Makarov said Wednesday.
Speaking to foreign military attaches, Makarov said the Western deployment already threatens Russia's strategic nuclear forces and would trigger a new costly arms race.
"The idea of creating the anti-missile defense in Europe could sharply aggravate our relations," Makarov said, adding that a deterioration of relations between Russia and NATO would not lead to stability in Europe.
He stressed that relations between Russia and NATO have reached a deadlock and would develop either to cooperation or to suspicion and distrust if the bottom line was crossed.
Makarov reiterated that Russia has always been prepared to cooperate with the United States and NATO on the issue.
President Dmitry Medvedev warned in November that Russia might station missile defense systems in western and southern sections of the country if there were any additional U.S. missile deployments in Europe.
Moscow has long opposed the deployment of U.S.-led NATO missile defense facilities near its borders and intends to seek legally-binding guarantees from the United States and NATO that the missile defense shield is not targeting Russia.