MOSCOW – Russia said on Thursday that full dialogue with the United States on missile threats could only begin if Washington dropped its plans to deploy a missile defense system in Europe.

Only a rejection by the United States of plans to create a ... missile defense system in Europe could lay the groundwork for our fully fledged dialogue on questions of cooperation in reacting to potential missile risks, Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Andrei Nesterenko told reporters.

He said that Moscow viewed the U.S. missile plans as a way to counter Russia's strategic forces, but he added that Moscow hoped to find a way to reach a compromise with Washington.

U.S. officials say the planned deployment of interceptor missiles and a radar system in Eastern Europe is aimed at preventing potential attacks from countries like Iran.

Russia has tied Washington's plans for missile defense to talks on reducing Cold War arsenals of nuclear weapons.

(Reporting by Conor Sweeney, Guy Faulconbridge)