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Russia To Halt Weapons If U.S. Drops Shield, General Says

Colonel General Nikolai Solovtsov

Colonel General Nikolai Solovtsov

MOSCOW (Reuters) -- Russia will stop developing some strategic weapons if the United States drops plans for a missile shield in Europe, Interfax news agency has quoted the commander of Russia's strategic missile forces as saying.

"If the Americans give up plans to deploy the third positioning region and other elements of the strategic missile-defense system, then certainly we will adequately respond to it," Colonel General Nikolai Solovtsov said.

"We will simply not need a number of expensive programs," he added. The U.S. missile shield plan includes interceptor missiles in Poland and a radar in the Czech Republic.

Washington has said the shield is needed to protect itself and its allies from attacks by rogue states such as Iran and North Korea but Russia says the shield is a threat to itself.

In response to the U.S. shield plans, the Kremlin has boosted its missile development program and threatened to position missiles in the Kaliningrad region on the European Union's borders.