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Russian missile proposal 'disappointing,' US says

Iskander missile system.
by Staff Writers
Washington (AFP) Nov 5, 2008
The United States said Wednesday that Russia's plan to deploy missiles in retaliation for a proposed US anti-missile system in Poland and the Czech Republic is "disappointing."

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev announced the deployment of short-range missiles in an area of western Russia wedged between Lithuania and Poland, in response to US plans to site missile defense bases in eastern Europe.

"The steps that the Russian government announced today are disappointing," State Department spokesman Sean McCormack told reporters when asked to comment on Medvedev's announcement.

In a speech blaming the world's problems on the United States, Medvedev said: "Iskander missile systems will be deployed in Kaliningrad region to neutralise the missile defence system."

But McCormack said US missile plans are "not directed at them" and "hopefully one day they'll realize that.

"The missile defense sites in the Czech Republic and Poland are not aimed at Russia. This missile defense system is designed to protect against rogue states, for example, Iran, who are working on long-range missile technology."

The Pentagon said earlier that it will continue to develop missile defenses with its partners in Europe despite the Russian threat to deploy ballistic missiles in the western enclave to counter them.

"Nothing in today's news changes our position with respect to trying to cooperate with our European partners on it," said Bryan Whitman, a Pentagon spokesman.

Whitman had no direct comment on the announced deployments but reiterated the US position that the missile defenses posed no threat to Moscow and was directed at an emerging ballistic missile threat from the Middle East.

US plans to install a powerful targeting radar in the Czech Republic and interceptor missiles in Poland.

The Czech and Polish parliaments have yet to ratify agreements reached by their governments with Washington.

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NATO voices 'serious worries' about Russian missile plans
Brussels (AFP) Nov 5, 2008
NATO has "serious worries" about the compatibility of Russian plans to deploy missiles in a western Russian enclave with arm control "arrangements," an alliance spokesman said Wednesday.

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