A Russian general says placing elements of a U.S. anti-missile system in Poland and the Czech Republic would be a "clear threat" to Moscow.
Lieutenant General Vladimir Popovkin, the chief of Russia's Space Forces, disputed the U.S. contention that the system's sole aim was to defend Europe against intercontinental missiles fired by hostile states outside the region.
Poland and the Czech Republic have agreed to start detailed discussions with Washington on hosting anti-missile defenses.
Russian officials have repeatedly opposed the project, calling it a veiled attempt to change the strategic balance between Russia and the West.
Both Poland and the Czech Republic are former communist Warsaw Pact countries that are now NATO members.
Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.