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Russia asks US to explain missile deployment in Poland


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MOSCOW (BNS): Russia has demanded an explanation from the United States and Poland on the deployment of Patriot missiles near the Polish-Russian border.

The surface-to-air missiles arrived at Morąg in north-east Poland on Sunday, according to US embassy statement from Warsaw. This is the first deployment of the US missile defence systems on the Polish soil after Poland ratified the Supplemental Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) earlier this year.

"We have, so far, been told only one thing: do not worry, this is not aimed against you," RIA Novosti quoted Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov as saying.

"We have already heard this in the past and we consider that the new nature of relations between Washington and Warsaw allows us to expect more detailed explanations on what is happening," he said.

Moscow had expressed concerns when Poland announced in late January that it would deploy a battery of US Patriot missiles to the town of Morag, just 100 kilometers (60 miles) from the border with the Russian exclave of Kaliningrad.

"We do not understand completely what the need is in taking steps of a military-technical nature to create some military facilities, an infrastructure in close proximity to Russian borders," Lavrov said. "These are the questions that we ask our Polish colleagues and US partners."

Poland demanded the Patriot theater air defense systems, designed to counter tactical ballistic missiles, cruise missiles and advanced aircraft, when it agreed to host part of the planned US missile shield in Eastern Europe, and insisted the deployment go ahead even after Washington modified its missile defense plans, the agency report said.

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