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Bush with Germany's Angela Merkel on June 6 (AFP)
June 7, 2007 -- U.S. President George W. Bush says Russia poses no threat to Europe, despite a warning by Moscow to target the continent if the United States deploys elements of a missile shield in Central Europe.
Russian President Vladimir Putin said last weekend that Russia would resume its Cold War stance of targeting its missiles at Europe if Washington goes ahead with basing parts of the planned shield in the Czech Republic and Poland.
But Bush told reporters at the start of a Group of Eight (G8) summit in Germany that "Russia is not going to attack Europe," and is "not something to be hyperventilating about."
Bush said he hopes to ease Russian concerns over U.S. missile-defense plans when he meets Putin today. The two leaders are expected to meet on the sidelines of the summit in Heiligendamm after 3 p.m. local time.
Before arriving in Germany, Bush said Russia had nothing to fear from the planned missile-defense system. But he also said democratic reforms had been "derailed"
in Russia under Putin.
(AP, Reuters, AFP)
AN RFE/RL VIDEO PRESENTATION: The Czech Republic responds to the U.S. missile-defense proposal.