Russian officials in a report on Thursday speculated that a nuclear war could leave Romania a “smoking ruins” just as Britain said it intercepted several Russian transports that refused to identify themselves as they approached the Baltic States. The amped up talk of death and destruction could, analysts warn, return the world to the hair-trigger tensions that shadowed America and the Soviet Union both in the years before President Ronald Reagan demands of Mikhail Gorbachev to “tear down this wall.”

It was the New York Times that said American officials were celebrating the opening of a missile defense system in Europe this week while the discussion in Moscow turned dark. “We have been saying right from when this story started that our experts are convinced that the deployment of the ABM system poses a certain threat to the Russian Federation,” Kremlin spokesman, Dmitri S. Peskov, told reporters in a conference call. READ MORE