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Russia not to deploy tactical missiles

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Russia's Iskander missile. A File Photo

MOSCOW (PTI): Russia on Saturday said it will not deploy the smart Iskander-M tactical missiles at Kaliningrad facing the Polish and Lithuanian border following US President Barack Obama's decision to drop missile shield plans in central Europe.

"In response we will cancel our plans, which were to be implemented in case of the deployment of third missile defence position (radar in the Czech Republic and killer missiles in Poland)," Gen Popovkin, a top military commander, said.

"One of such steps is scarping the deployment of Iskander operational-tactical missiles in the Kaliningrad region," he told 'Ekho Moskvy' radio.

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev had in November last year ordered the deployment of smart Iskander-M missiles in Russia's westernmost Baltic exclave sandwiched between Poland and Lithuania in view of the previous Bush administration's missile shield plans.

"Wisdom has prevailed over ambitions. We had told the Americans on several occasions that the threat (Iran missiles), they were referring to, was of a future nature and not imminent," Deputy Defence Minister General Vladimir Popovkin said.

Russia has been insisting that the proposed missile shield is not directed against rouge missiles but against Moscow's second strike capability in case of US nuclear attack.

Observers here note that Obama’s decision to drop the plan, have removed a major irritant in bilateral relations of the former Cold-War foes and has opened way for a new arms control pact by the end of the year, when the Soviet-era START-1 treaty expires.

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