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No apologies from Poland over missiles

RIA Novosti


WARSAW, May 29 (RIA Novosti) - Poland will not apologize to Russia for deploying U.S. Patriot missiles on its soil, Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski said on Saturday.

His remarks came in response to Moscow's reaction with Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Grushko saying on Friday nothing could justify the deployment of U.S. missiles near the Polish-Russian border.

"Poland will not apologize for exercises or training conducted together with her allies," Sikorski said.

Commenting on Grushko's remarks, he said S-300 Russian air defense systems were stationed close to Poland's border.

He stressed that as a NATO member state Poland has every right to set up defense systems together with its allies and this should not cause any problems.

The United States opened on Monday a temporary military base near the northern Polish town of Morag, 80 km (50 miles) from the Russian border, in accordance with an agreement negotiated under former President George Bush in 2008.

The U.S. troops will be deployed at the base to train Polish forces until 2012, when the base is expected to become permanent. The move has brought a strong reaction from Moscow, which is particularly displeased by its proximity to Russia's Baltic exclave of Kaliningrad.

Russia has suggested the base be moved away from the borders, and the Foreign Ministry said on Wednesday that the deployment did not enhance regional security and cooperation.

Grushko said if the deployment becomes permanent, it will violate the founding act on mutual relations, cooperation and security, signed between NATO and Russia in 1997.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Thursday that Moscow expected an explanation on the deployment of U.S. Patriot missiles.

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