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Medvedev pledges response to U.S. missile shield

RIA Novosti

09/07/2008 15:45 (Adds details after para 5)

RUSUTSU, (Hokkaido), July 9 (RIA Novosti) - Russia will respond to U.S. missile shield plans in Central Europe, President Dmitry Medvedev said on Wednesday, pledging at the same time that Moscow would not resort to 'hysterics' over the issue.

"I repeat once again, we are not satisfied with it, and I have said this to my counterparts. Of course, we will not get hysterical over the issue, but we will consider what steps to take in response," Medvedev told journalists after the G8 summit in Japan.

Medvedev also said Russia was dismayed by the Czech Republic signing on Tuesday a missile shield treaty with the U.S., but added that Russia was ready for further talks.

Moscow has strongly opposed the possible deployment by the U.S. of 10 interceptor missiles in Poland and a radar in the Czech Republic as a threat to its security and nuclear deterrence. Washington says the defenses are needed to deter possible strikes from "rogue states."

"At the same time, I would like to say once again that of course we are not closed to further talks and will continue them, including with the participation of our G8 partners and North Atlantic alliance states," the Russian leader said.

Russia's Foreign Ministry said on Tuesday that if the U.S.-Czech treaty, which still requires final approval from the Czech parliament, is ratified, and U.S. strategic missile defense elements are deployed near Russia's borders, Moscow would be forced to respond with a "military-technical approach" rather than a diplomatic one.

Russia has offered the U.S. the use of its radar stations in Armavir in southern Russia and Gabala in Azerbaijan as alternatives to the planned Central European sites, but Washington said they could only be used as "supplements," if at all.

Russia's envoy to NATO, Dmitry Rogozin, said the U.S.-Czech deal undermines European security and pushes the world toward a new arms race.

"Missile defense systems in the Czech Republic and Poland are a totally destabilizing element between the East and the West. The Czech authorities have surrendered their people to nuclear slaughter in favor of the interests of military and industrial groups," he said.

Reuters earlier quoted the Pentagon press secretary as saying the Russian Foreign Ministry's warning was designed to make Washington's European partners nervous.

"I can only assume Russia's bellicose rhetoric is designed to make Europeans nervous about participating in this system, but that won't work," Geoff Morrell was quoted as saying.

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