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Putin: Missile Tests Response to Unilateral Moves
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Russian President Vladimir Putin said Thursday the country's recent tests of new ballistic missiles and its possible withdrawal from the Conventional Forces in Europe(CFE) treaty are a direct response to unilateral, ungrounded actions of Western countries in the sphere of missile defense.

"These actions are aimed at maintaining balance in the world order, and they are extremely important for maintaining peace and security globally," Putin was quoted by the Itar-Tass news agency as saying after a meeting with the Greek president in the Kremlin.

"A new base in Bulgaria, another one in Romania, a site for a new missile in Poland and a radar in the Czech republic, what should we do? We cannot one-sidedly watch and observe accords," Putin said.

"We've said you either ratify (the CFE) and implement it, or we withdraw (from the treaty). It seems somebody doesn't like it," the president said.

"These actions by Russia should not be feared, they are not aggressive, it's just an answer to rather tough and unjustified unilateral actions by partners," Putin said.

Russia successfully test-launched a new type of intercontinental ballistic missile on Tuesday. On the same day, Russia tested a new short-range cruise missile for the mobile complex Iskander-M at the Kapustin Yar base in the southern Astrakhan Region.

The United States plans to deploy missile interceptors in Poland and radar units in the Czech Republic as part of a project to extend the missile defense system in Europe. Russia has voiced strong opposition over the plan.

(Xinhua News Agency June 1, 2007)

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