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RIA Novosti

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Senior Russian diplomat blasts U.S. missile shield plans in Europe

19:59 01/03/2007
MOSCOW, March 1 (RIA Novosti) - U.S. plans to place elements of its missile defenses in Poland and the Czech Republic could destroy the detente process and destabilize the situation in Europe, a senior Russian diplomat said Thursday.

Washington said in January it planned to build a radar installation in the Czech Republic and a missile interceptor base in Poland in the next five years.

The U.S. insists that the European missile shield is meant to counter possible attacks from Iran or North Korea, but Moscow strongly opposes the deployment of a missile shield in its former backyard in Central Europe, describing the plans as a threat to Russian national security.

"A country cannot ensure its own security by raising other countries' concerns for their security," Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Grushko said.

He said Europe and the world have been strengthening security in the past 20 years through open dialogue and the reduction or elimination of "elements that caused mutual concern, including nuclear weapons and conventional weapons."

But the recent U.S. missile shield plans and NATO's eastward expansion could turn this positive trend around and lead to another spiral of the arms race characteristic of the "cold war," the Russian diplomat said.

"In addition, destabilizing consequences of this [missile shield] project are reflected in the fact that the announced U.S. desire to protect itself from certain countries could force these countries to consider scenarios of extreme response to U.S. policies toward them," Grushko said.

He said these scenarios might include "the possibility of these countries delivering missile strikes against the United States from their territory."

Grushko also said that the U.S. administration announced last week a possibility that the future missile shield could be placed not only in Poland and the Czech Republic but also in other countries.

"Just because we have systems deployed potentially in the Czech Republic as well as in Poland, that does not mean that through other avenues of cooperation the [missile shield] architecture might change and evolve over time," U.S. Department of State Spokesman Sean McCormack said at a Daily Press Briefing on February 24.

The Russian diplomat said such a statement could indicate that "this [missile shield] program might have a long-lasting influence on U.S. policies, including during future U.S. administrations."

In response to U.S. missile shield plans, Moscow has already warned Washington that it could unilaterally pull out of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF) and resume production of intermediate- and short-range missiles in the future.

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RIA NovostiSenior Russian diplomat blasts U.S. missile shield plans in Europe

19:59 01/03/2007 U.S. plans to place elements of its missile defenses in Poland and the Czech Republic could destroy the detente process and destabilize the situation in Europe, a senior Russian diplomat said Thursday. >>

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