In his statement, Turner expressed concerns over discrepancies between statements by Russian officials and those in the U.S. Senate’s Resolution of Ratification, concerning the future scope of ballistic missile defenses, and Russian threats to deploy short range nuclear armed missiles within range of NATO countries:
“As the START Treaty is finalized, Russia has once again asserted that the treaty restricts U.S. and Allied missile defense programs. I am deeply concerned that the U.S and Russia are signing an agreement where we have different visions as to what the treaty represents.
“Russia has claimed a virtual veto over U.S. and Allied missile defense programs. That assertion is inappropriate as all sovereign states reserve the right to decide how to best defend themselves.
“The U.S. Senate made sure that the New START Treaty was not ‘ABM Treaty Lite,’ and it falls to the administration to defend that understanding, as required by the Resolution of Ratification. But the House also has an important role here. Make no mistake: the House Armed Services Committee will be pushing forward on missile defense improvements and enhancements we believe are in the national interest, even if that includes what Russia decides to be ‘quantitative and qualitative’ improvements. We will be exploring all manner of defenses that protect the American people, our troops and our allies.
“As Chair of the U.S. Delegation to the NATO Parliamentary Assembly, I am also deeply concerned about the unfriendly language Russia has used when speaking to our NATO allies. Specifically President Dmitri Medvedev stated that, ‘We have two options. Either we … agree with NATO on designing an integrated system of anti-missile defense or, if we fail to reach agreement, we will subsequently be forced to make an entire series of unpleasant decisions on the deployment of an offensive nuclear missile group.’ Threatening our NATO allies with nuclear weapons is not very helpful in attempting to foster cooperation and dialogue.”