Russia to respond militarily to US missile shield

August 27th, 2008 - 5:20 pm ICT by IANS  

Moscow, Aug 27 (RIA Novosti) Russia will respond “using military means” to the deployment of a US missile shield system in Central Europe, President Dmitry Medvedev has said. The US signed a deal with Poland and the Czech Republic to install interceptor missiles and radar in the two countries part of its missile defence shield.

“These missiles are close to our borders and constitute a threat to us,” Medvedev said in an interview with Al-Jazeera television Tuesday.

“This will create additional tension and we will have to respond to it in some way, naturally using military means.”

Moscow has consistently expressed its opposition to the US missile shield, saying it threatens its national security.

The US claims the shield is designed to thwart missile attacks by what it calls “rogue states,” including Iran.

Offering NATO membership to Georgia and Ukraine, two former Soviet republics, would only aggravate the situation, the Russian president warned.

Medvedev’s statement came on the same day that Russia recognised the Georgian breakaway regions - South Ossetia and Abkhazia.

Western leaders have condemned Russia’s decision as renewing the Cold War.

“Russia’s action only exacerbates tensions and complicates diplomatic negotiations,” US President George W. Bush said in a statement Tuesday.

“We are not afraid of anything, including the prospect of a new cold war, but we don’t want one, and in this situation everything depends on the position of our partners,” Medvedev told the Russia Today international news channel Tuesday.

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