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Putin Vows 'Effective' Response To U.S. Missile Plans

Putin at the Topol-M missile complex in December 2006 (file photo) (ITAR-TASS) February 1, 2007 -- Russian President Vladimir Putin today vowed Russia will come up with a "highly effective" response to U.S. plans to set up an missile-defense system in Europe.

Putin made the comments during a major press event in the Kremlin.

Russia already has a missile, the Topol-M, that can penetrate the planned U.S. missile shield, but Putin said Russia is also developing a "completely new system of strategic weapons."

Russia has strongly criticized the planned missile-defense system, which the United States says will guard against attacks from Iran and North Korea.

Meanwhile in Kyiv, Ukraine's defense minister said today that the United States would not be allowed to deploy a missile-defense system in Ukraine.

Anatoliy Grytsenko said Ukrainian officials had not spoken with U.S. officials about such a deployment.

On January 29, the deputy director of the U.S. Missile Defense Agency said the United States had held meetings with Ukraine on its possible involvement with a U.S. missile-defense system in Eastern Europe.

Last month, Czech Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek said Washington had officially asked Prague to start negotiations on hosting a radar tracking system that would be part of the missile-defense system

U.S. officials have also been negotiating with Poland.


RFE/RL Russia Report

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