Russia threatened pre-emptive action against Nato missile facilities in Eastern Europe today if Washington goes ahead with its controversial missile defence scheme.
Top military officer Nikolai Makarov (pictured) said during an international conference that the presence of Nato's missile defence scheme is "destabilising" and that a decision on a pre-emptive strike will be taken "when the situation gets aggravated."
Russian Defence Minister Anatoly Serdyukov added that talks between Moscow and Washington on the Nato missile plan in Europe are "close to a dead end."
The Russian government rejects Washington's claim that the plan is solely to deal with any Iranian missile threat and has voiced fears it will eventually become powerful enough to undermine Russia's nuclear deterrent.
Last year, President Dmitry Medvedev said Moscow will retaliate if it does not reach an agreement with the United States and Nato.
Russia's Security Council Secretary Nikolai Patrushev reiterated today Moscow's offer to run the missile shield together with Nato.
Mr Patrushev said this jointly-run European missile defence system "could strengthen security of every single country of the continent" and "would be adequate to counter possible threats and will not deter strategic security."
While Nato said it wants to co-operate with Russia on the missile shield, it has rejected Moscow's proposal to run it together.
Nato's deputy secretary general Alexander Vershbow told the conference that the US-led missile shield is "not and will not be directed against Russia" and that its intercontinental ballistic missiles are "too fast and too sophisticated" for the planned system to intercept.
The conference in Moscow is the last major Russia-US meeting about military issues before a Nato summit in Chicago later this month. Russia hasn't said whether it will send top officials there.
Fire Minister Brandon Lewis probably had a fair idea what Sir Ken Knight would deliver when he asked him to conduct an "independent" report into fire and rescue services in England.
As LGBT activists worldwide celebrate anti-homophobia day we are reminded of prevailing prejudice
Bradford has seen the launch of a new campaign to battle the sources of child sex exploitation - and combat far-right bids to make it a racial issue