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Russia furious over US-Czech missile shield

world Updated: Jul 09, 2008 23:39 IST
Fred Weir
Fred Weir
Hindustan Times
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Moscow is “extremely upset” and will retaliate against a US-Czech agreement to deploy anti-missile radars that could undermine Russia's nuclear deterrent, President Dmitri Medvedev has said in a statement widely re-broadcast by the Russian media.

“It is completely obvious that, after the signing of the agreement a new stage in implementing the idea of the missile shield has started,” Medvedev told Western leaders at the Group of Eight summit in Japan Wednesday. “We are extremely upset by this situation.”

For the first time since the end of the Cold War, Russia may move to beef up its forces in the West to counter this new challenge, he added.

“We will not be hysterical about this but we will think of retaliatory steps,” he said.

A Russian Foreign Ministry statement went further, saying that the president was not referring to diplomatic, but to “military-technical” means of retaliation.

Moscow believes the planned deployments are part of a scheme to build a globe-girdling anti-missile network controlled by the Pentagon that would nullify Russia's strategic deterrent and ensure American supremacy.

The defence deal between Washington and Prague on Tuesday ended years of negotiation and could soon lead to construction of the advanced radar system that the US says is needed to detect missiles fired against the West by “rogue” states such as Iran and North Korea.