Amid escalating U.S.-Russia tensions, the Russian military said Tuesday it will cooperate with China on efforts to fend off a threat posed by the U.S. missile defense program. Lt. Gen. Viktor Poznikhir of the Russian military’s General Staff accused the Pentagon of developing the shield as part of planning for a possible first nuclear strike. “The missile defense system considerably shifts the balance of offensive weapons,

allowing the planning of a more efficient pre-emptive strike,” he said at a security conference in China. Russia and China have frequently expressed concerns about the U.S. missile shield, but Poznikhir dropped any diplomatic reticence in his blunt speech that reflected a widening rift between Moscow and Washington. READ MORE