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Russian PM Urges Obama to Scrap Missile Shield

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin is urging U.S. President-elect Barack Obama to drop plans for a U.S. missile shield in eastern Europe, saying Moscow will respond appropriately to any such deployment.

Mr. Putin spoke Monday in St. Petersburg, at a conference on humanitarian law. He said the U.S. project is aimed against what he called Russia's strategic potential.

The Bush administration says the 10 missile interceptors and guidance radar it wants to deploy in Poland and the Czech Republic are aimed at protecting U.S. allies in Europe from potential attacks by Iran.

Moscow has threatened to deploy missiles on the European Union border if the U.S. plan goes through. But today, Mr. Putin said there will be no Russian deployment if the perceived threat ceases to exist.

Sunday, President Medvedev said Mr. Obama may be willing to scrap the shield and that he appears more cautious on the issue.

He also said the Bush administration is inflexible on the matter.

An Obama aide said earlier this month that Mr. Obama did not commit to the missile system during a telephone call to Polish President Lech Kaczynski. The aide said Mr. Obama only supports such a plan when technology proves it can work.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP.