The Russian foreign minister went on to say that the perceived threats could become a "self-fulfilling prophesy as a consequence of ill-considered actions".

'Imaginary constructs'

"Should imaginary constructs get in the way of the flourishing trilateral efforts of Russia, the EU and the US to solve real problems in the Middle East, the crisis in Iraq and Afghanistan and Iran's nuclear programme? It is these problems that really threaten our continent's security."

Lavrov suggested conducting a joint evaluation of the potential threat of nuclear attack, saying that a suitable forum would be the next foreign minister-level meeting of the Russia-Nato Council at the end of the month.

The United States wants to base a battery of 10 missile interceptors in Poland and build a radar station in the Czech Republic.

Lavrov called the plan "unacceptable" as it would "fundamentally alter the continent's geo-strategic landscape".

'Political problem' 

Pavel Felgenghauer, a Moscow-based military analyst, told Al Jazeera that the proposed system would pose little threat to Russia.

"The interceptors that are planned for deployment after the year 2012 cannot possibly, technically intercept Russian missiles. They are designed against possible Iranian missiles that may or may not appear after 2012," he said.

"Russian military generals know that these interceptors are not a threat at all, so this is a political problem ... there is going to be a lot of political wrangling."

Lieutenant-General Henry Obering, director of the US missile defence agency, has previously said that the system was being designed to destroy missiles being developed by Iran.

Two other bases - at Fort Greely, Alaska, and Vandenberg Air Force Base in California - would protect the US from threats from North Korea, Obering said.