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Lavrov: U.S. missile-shield bases in E Europe threatens Russia
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Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said Friday that the U.S. plan to build missile-shield bases in Eastern Europe poses a threat to Russia to which his country will respond.

"We see a threat and we are preparing a response to it," Lavrov said in a televised interview Friday.

"Any action calls for a counteraction ...this is the law of the genre. This is the obligation of militaries, the obligation for the commander in chief to guarantee the maximally effective answer to any threat," he said.

He added that building the missile-shield system is likely to spark a new arm race. "And this for sure will stimulate the scientists on that side of the ocean, the military-industrial complex, to build some sort of more effective type of weapons. But our guys also won't be sitting on their hands."

On Tuesday, a team of U.S. military experts visited a radar facility rented by Russia in Azerbaijan, which Moscow has offered as an alternative to the planned U.S. system.

The U.S. specialists held informal consultations with their Russian counterparts and said that the radar's technology is outdated and it would not have the same capabilities as the U.S. proposed station in the Czech Republic.

"When our American partners say that Gabala cannot be an alternative to a radar in the Czech Republic, I understand them, because the Gabala radar cannot see Russian territory from its western borders to the Urals ... a radar in the Czech Republic can," Lavrov said.

Moscow strongly opposes the U.S. plan to place a missile interceptor base in Poland and a radar in the Czech Republic, which it considers a threat to Russia's national security.

(Xinhua News Agency September 22, 2007)

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