MOSCOW  - Russia said Thursday its dispute with the United States over missile defence was near a “dead end” and warned it might have to deploy new rockets in Europe to take out elements of the controversial shield. “We have not been able to find mutually-acceptable solutions at this point and the situation is practically at a dead end,” Defence Minister Anatoly Serdyukov told a televised conference on missile defence issues. The comments came just hours before Russian generals were to sit down for crunch talks with a special team Washington dispatched ahead of next month’s official deployment of the first elements of the new shield.

Russia has argued vehemently against a defence system the United States is deploying to protect its European allies against any attack from enemy states such as Iran that the West fears are seeking to develop a nuclear weapon.

Officials in Moscow fear the shield may harm its own nuclear deterrence and have warned of unleashing a massive new armament programme if Washington failed to allay its concerns.

Chief of Staff General Nikolai Makarov said one option was for Russia to station short-range Iskander missiles in its Kaliningrad exclave near Poland in a long-discussed move that has gravely alarmed Eastern European states.