Russia concerned about NATO missiles in Turkey

Updated: 2012-12-05 07:38


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BRUSSELS - Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on Tuesday expressed concerns over NATO's possible deployment of surface-to-air Patriots missiles to protect Turkey from potential attack from neighboring Syria.

"This stockpiling of armaments is always creating an additional risk that these armaments will be used ... We have purely political concern that the conflict is increasingly militarized," he said after a meeting with his NATO counterparts at NATO headquarters in Brussels.

Russia concerned about NATO missiles in Turkey

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov holds a news conference at NATO headquarters after a meeting with NATO foreign ministers in Brussels Dec 4, 2012. [Photo/Agencies]

Lavrov said the threats against Turkey should not be overstated and Russia had proposed to set up a communication line in the real time between Turkey and Syria to avoid any escalation.

"Syria is not Libya ... We believe that we need to carry out political and diplomatic intervention and pursue negotiations between all the parties that are engaged in bloodshed there," he said.

At the meeting, NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen tried to reassure Russia that the Patriots would not be used to implement a no-fly zone in Syria, but was aimed at defending Turkey from Syrian missiles.

"We have all declared that this is a defensive measure only, that we have no offensive intentions. Actually, I do believe the deployment of Patriots missiles will serve as an effective deterrence to de-escalate the situation along the Syria-Turkey border," he said.

"Actually, it is part of a defense alliance that we stand ready to take necessary measures to defend and protect an ally, this case Turkey. I don't think Russia could or should be surprised," he added.

Rasmussen said earlier that the military alliance was expected on Tuesday to approve Turkey's request for Patriot missiles, which will be provided by Germany, the Netherland and the United States.