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. Russia may place nuclear missiles in Belarus: report
MOSCOW, Dec 23 (AFP) Dec 23, 2008
Russia may place nuclear-capable Topol missiles in neighbouring Belarus as a response to a controversial US missile shield in eastern Europe, a Russian defence ministry source was quoted as saying Tuesday.

"If the United States continues to bring elements of its strategic forces closer to Russia's borders, including missile-defence sites in Poland and the Czech Republic, which are aimed at the reduction of our nuclear deterrent, mobile Topol complexes could be placed in Belarus," the source told Interfax news agency.

A defence ministry spokesman contacted by AFP declined to comment on the report.

Russia has reacted angrily to US plans to place elements of a missile shield in Poland and the Czech Republic, threatening counter-measures including the deployment of Iskander short-range missiles in its western Kaliningrad region.

The United States says its missile shield is not a threat to Russia and is instead meant to protect against "rogue states" like Iran.

The report came one day after Belarussian President Alexander Lukashenko met his Russian counterpart Dmitry Medvedev in Moscow and reached a deal on the deliveries of Russian gas to Belarus.

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