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08/15/08

Russian Officials: US Missile Shield Aimed at Russia

Top Russian officials say it is now clear that a proposed U.S. missile defense system in eastern Europe is aimed at Russia.

Russia: Poland risks attack because of US missiles
By JIM HEINTZ, Associated Press Writer

MOSCOW - A top Russian general said Friday that Poland's agreement to accept a U.S. missile interceptor base exposes the ex-communist nation to attack, possibly by nuclear weapons, the Interfax news agency reported.

The statement by Gen. Anatoly Nogovitsyn is the strongest threat that Russia has issued against the plans to put missile defense elements in former Soviet satellite nations.

The officials say Friday the speed in which U.S. and Polish negotiators reached an agreement on the proposed system - during the mounting crisis with Georgia - proves it is not related to any missile threat from Iran.

A top Russian general, General Anatoly Nogovitsyn, also said the U.S.-Polish agreement is aggravating already strained relations between Moscow and Washington.

U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, in the Georgian capital Tblisi, says she hopes to sign the missile shield treaty soon.

U.S. and Polish negotiators reached a preliminary agreement Thursday to deploy part of the U.S. missile defense system in Poland.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov immediately reacted by canceling a planned visit to Poland next month. Russia sees the missile system as a threat to its security.

Earlier, Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk stressed that a number of details remain to be resolved before the two countries sign a final agreement.

Mr. Tusk said the United States had agreed to Polish demands for greater military cooperation.

President Bush's spokeswoman, Dana Perino, says the White House welcomes Thursday's preliminary agreement, saying missile defense if a huge contribution to NATO's collective security.

The United States wants to base 10 interceptor missiles in Poland and a radar system in the Czech Republic as part of a system to counter missile attacks from hostile states. Prague has already agreed to the deal.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.

... Payvand News - 08/15/08 ... --



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