Russia suspends missile deployment in Europe
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Russia has suspended plans to deploy Iskander missiles in its far-western enclave of Kaliningrad due to a shift in the new US administration's missile shield policy in Eastern Europe, say media reports quoting Russian military sources.
Reuters - Russia has suspended the deployment of its Iskander missiles in Kaliningrad due to a change in U.S. missile defence policy in Europe, Interfax news agency quoted a military official as saying on Wednesday.
"The implementation of these plans has been halted in connection with the fact that the new U.S. administration is not rushing through plans to deploy" elements of its missile defence shield in eastern Europe, Interfax quoted the unnamed official in the Russian military's general staff as saying.
President Dmitry Medvedev said in November that Russia would deploy the missiles in its western outpost of Kaliningrad, which borders European Union member Poland, in response to the U.S. missile shield plans.
Washington says the plans, to deploy interceptor missiles in Poland and a radar in the Czech Republic, are intended to avert potential strikes from Iran and North Korea. Russia says the deployment is targeted against it.
The spat has helped to drive diplomatic ties to their lowest point since the Cold War.
But Russian officials have said they are encouraged by early signals from the new administration of U.S. President Barack Obama and hopeful of a fresh start in their relations.
A nominee for a top Pentagon post in the Obama administration said earlier this month the missile shield plan would be reviewed as part of a regular broad look at policy.
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