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Republicans bash Obama on missile defence

Congressional Republicans sharply criticised President Barack Obama for cancelling plans for a long-range missile-defence shield in Europe, accusing him of backing down against Moscow.

world Updated: Sep 18, 2009 07:33 IST
DPA

Congressional Republicans sharply criticised President Barack Obama on Thursday for cancelling plans for a long-range missile-defence shield in Europe, accusing him of backing down against Moscow.

"The administration is capitulating to Russian demands, rewarding Russia for its divisive policies and actions," Representative Howard McKeon said during a press conference with other Republicans.

Obama had earlier announced plans to scrap the deployment of the long-range system to Poland and the Czech Republic, in favour of more advanced and cheaper medium-and short-range systems to protect the continent.

Russia had vehemently opposed the plans initiated by the Bush administration and threatened to target the sites. The tension brought US-Russian relations to a post-Cold War low.

The White House rebuffed the Republican criticism, saying Obama's decision was based on intelligence assessments that showed the shorter-range systems were the best tool to counter Iran's ballistic-missile threat.

"This is not about Russia," spokesman Robert Gibbs said.