Friday, May 28, 2010

Russia denounces U.S. missile move

Russia has denounced the deployment of U.S. Patriot missiles in Poland as detrimental to regional security and trust.

“Such military activity does not help to strengthen our mutual security, to develop relations of trust and predictability in this region,” said the Foreign Ministry in a statement carried by the Itar-Tass news agency.

A battery of U.S. Patriot air defence missiles, to be manned by up to 150 U.S. troops, arrived on Sunday in Morag, a small town in north-eastern Poland just 60 km from the Russian enclave of Kaliningrad.

“We have stated more than once that we do not understand the logic and focus of cooperation between the U.S. and Poland in this sphere,” said the statement.

It is the first deployment of U.S. surface-to-air missiles so close to Russia's borders.

The missiles will be able to shoot down aircraft and missiles over the entire Kaliningrad region, according to Russia's NATO envoy Dmitry Rogozin.

Temporary deployment

Moscow said its questions to Washington and Warsaw had gone unanswered, as had its request to move the missile site farther from the Russian border. The Pentagon said the main purpose of the temporary deployment is to teach the Polish military to operate the advanced guided missile system.

However, in 2012 the Patriot base will become permanent.

Under President Barack Obama's reconfigured missile defence plan for Europe, Poland is also expected by 2018 to host SM-3 missile interceptors capable of shooting down Russian ballistic missiles.

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