Russia's foreign minister says U.S. President Barack Obama's new missile shield plan does not threaten Russia and creates preconditions for a U.S.-Russian dialogue.
Sergei Lavrov said while visiting the Ukrainian city of Kharkiv on Wednesday that former U.S. President George W. Bush's plan to deploy interceptor missiles in Poland and a radar facility in the Czech Republic "unequivocally created risks for Russian's security."
He said the Obama administration's missile defense plan does not create such risks and in fact creates "good conditions for dialogue."
President Obama announced last month that he would replace the Bush administration's missile shield plan with a new and more flexible missile system based on new intelligence and technology.
U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates says the new program will deploy sea-based interceptor missiles by 2011 and install similar technology on the ground in southern and central Europe four years later.
The Pentagon's top policy chief Michelle Flournoy says the new system will take advantage of improved tracking and intercepting technologies and be more effective against growing threats from Iran.
Russian President Dmitri Medvedev said after meeting with Mr. Obama in New York last month that the U.S. president's decision to scrap a U.S. missile defense system in central Europe was a constructive step.
Mr. Medvedev also said Russia is ready to take part in new missile defense talks.
Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.