Russia says it has scrapped plans to deploy missiles in a region near
Poland after U.S. President Barack Obama canceled plans for a missile
defense system in Central Europe.
In a radio interview Saturday,
Russian Deputy Defense Minister Vladimir Popovkin said Mr. Obama's move
has made the deployment of Iskander short-range missiles in the
Kaliningrad region unnecessary.
President Obama said Thursday he
is replacing the planned missile defense system with what he called a
new approach for defending the United States and its NATO allies from a
missile threat from Iran.
Russia had fiercely opposed the earlier planned system as a threat to its security.
Some U.S. Republican leaders and East European politicians have criticized the change as misguided.
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said the United States is not
shelving missile defenses but implementing a more comprehensive defense
system. She insisted the United States is not walking away from its
Thursday, U.S. Republican Senator John McCain called the
decision a step backwards at a time when Eastern European countries are
increasingly wary of what he called "renewed Russian adventurism."
Russian President Dmitri Medvedev and Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin have both praised Mr. Obama's decision.
Czech and Polish officials said the development will not endanger the
security of their countries. But others, such as former Czech Prime
Minister Mirek Topolanek, whose government negotiated the missile
deployment accord, said the decision threatens Czech security.
Foreign Minister Radek Sikorsky called the timing of the announcement
clumsy, noting that it came on the 70th anniversary of the Soviet
invasion of his country during World War Two.
announcement, Mr. Obama said the change follows a new assessment of
Iran's missile program. The missile defense system planned for central
Europe was supposed to counter an attack from Iranian intercontinental
Former U.S. President George W. Bush first proposed building a missile defense system in Poland and the Czech Republic in 2006.
Some information for this report was provided by AFP and AP.