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Putin Calls Missile Shield a Threat

February 14, 2008 12:20 PM
by findingDulcinea Staff
In his final annual news conference, Russian President Vladimir Putin tells reporters that the development of the U.S. missile defense shield is a threat to Russia.

30-Second Summary

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U.S. officials have stated that they plan to build missile interceptors in Poland, and a radar system in the Czech Republic, to defend the United States from a potential attack by North Korea or Iran.

President Putin restated Thursday that if neighboring states allow America to build its defense shield within their borders, Russia will target missiles at those nations.

Putin told reporters, "We are warning people ahead of time: if you take this step, then we will make this step."

First Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, a long-time Putin aide, is expected to win the presidential election next month. Putin may then become prime minister. 

The Kremlin's opposition to the missile defense shield dates to January 2007, when the U.S. plans were first made public.

On Oct. 23, President Bush gave a speech at the National Defense University that was largely aimed at Russia. The speech outlined the need for protection against rogue states in the Middle East and claimed that Iran could have a missile capable of hitting European targets by 2015.

“The Cold War is over. Russia is not our enemy,” the president declared.

Headline Links: Putin restates opposition

Background: Russia’s early objections to missile defense

Related Topic: Balance of nuclear power shifts

Analysis: The purpose and efficacy of the shield

The purpose of the shield
The efficacy of the shield
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