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Russia might target US missile shield in Poland
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The US missile defense system, if deployed in Poland, could become a target for Russia's defense system, a senior Russian official said here on Monday.

"There are no doubts that the aim of the United States is not Iran, but control over Russia's nuclear potential," said Konstantin Kosachev, the head of the State Duma foreign policy committee.

Kosachev made the remarks in response to an earlier announcement of Warsaw that it had reached an agreement with Washington on the installation of a US missile defense system.

Kosachev said that "involvement of any third countries, in particular Poland and the Czech Republic, make these countries hostages of and participants in the situation."

Russia made its stance clear on the issue so that "it should not be a surprise for anybody" when Russia takes real action, Itar-Tass news agency quoted Kosachev as saying.

The United States announced plans in January 2007 to deploy 10 missile interceptors in Poland and a missile defense radar in the Czech Republic as part of its European missile shield, purportedly to counter a missile threat from Iran and other "rogue" states.

Russia strongly opposes the plan, claiming it is a direct threat to its security and will break the strategic balance in the region.

The plan also met local resistance in Poland and the Czech Republic.

The current Polish government, elected last year, was initially negative about the plan while trying to mend ties with Russia.

However, Polish Foreign Minister Radek Sikorski said Friday that Warsaw and the United States had agreed in principle on the deployment plan after he had received assurances that Washington would help Poland strengthen its security.

(Xinhua News Agency February 5, 2008)

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