MOSCOW — A top Russian diplomat says the United States’ cancellation of a critical part of its European missile defense system plan does not mollify Moscow’s opposition.
Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel last week announced that plans to place long-range missile interceptors in Poland in the final stage of its European system are being abandoned. US officials, however, stress that plans are on track to deploy shorter-range interceptors to Poland and Romania within the next five years.
The long-range interceptors were to have been the final phase of a program that Russia contends aims to counter its own missiles. Washington says the system is meant to stop missiles from Iran and North Korea.
Polish officials were saying almost nothing about the change Monday, a possible indication that they are relieved that shorter-range missiles, at least, will still be deployed to Poland in the next five years. Romanians also have not complained, noting that US missile defense interceptors will be deployed there in 2015, as planned.
Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov of Russia was quoted by the Kommersant newspaper Monday as saying: ‘‘We feel no euphoria in connection with what was announced by the US defense secretary, and we see no grounds for correcting our position.’’