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26 Sep, 2009 06:38

Russia drops European border missile plans

Russia will not place short-range missiles in its western-most region, bordering Europe, President Dmitry Medvedev said during a news conference in Pittsburgh.

Earlier, Russia’s Defense Ministry had already said that Moscow would not place Iskander missiles in the Kaliningrad region near Poland. Now the news has been officially confirmed by the president.

“When I voiced the idea, which I did in my presidential address to the Federal Council, I said that we are going to place Iskander class missiles in Kaliningrad in response to the implementation of the US anti-missile defense shield,” Medvedev recalled.

“As this decision has been cancelled now, it is quite natural that I’m going to make a decision not to allocate Iskander missiles in the corresponding region of our country”.

Moscow was strongly opposed to the Bush administration’s plans to place part of a US missile shield in Eastern Europe, seeing it as a threat to Russia’s security.

A week ago, Washington announced it was suspending the construction of defense facilities on land in favor of sea-based components. Dmitry Medvedev and many European leaders welcomed the move.

NATO new chief Anders Fogh Rasmussen even suggested linking the defense systems of the alliance, Russia, and the US.

“I will do my best to convince the Russian political leadership and the Russian people that NATO is not an enemy of Russia,” he said in an interview with RT.