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Russia dropped missile plan when US cancelled shield


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PITTISBURGH (AFP/PTI): Russia cancelled plans to deploy missiles in its enclave of Kaliningrad in response to the US decision not to base missile defence in Europe, President Dmitry Medvedev has said.

"When I first mentioned this idea, I said we would site Iskander missiles in response to the decision to implement the missile shield," Medvedev told reporters yesterday after the G20 summit in the US city of Pittsburgh.

"Since this decision has been cancelled, I naturally took the decision not to place Iskander missiles in the corresponding region of our country."

Last week, Moscow confirmed that it had dropped a threat to site missile batteries in Kaliningrad, a Russian enclave on the Baltic coast entirely surrounded by NATO member states.

Russia had fiercely opposed a US plan, promoted by President Barack Obama's predecessor George W. Bush, to build a missile shield by placing a radar facility in the Czech Republic and interceptor rockets in Poland.

Obama's decision to drop the plan caused dismay in parts of Eastern Europe that still fear Russian interference, but was welcomed in Moscow.

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