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Czechs Vote Against U.S. Antimissile Radar Base

Demonstration against the radar base in Prague in May (RFE/RL) June 3, 2007 -- Voters in three Czech villages near a planned U.S. antimissile radar base have rejected the proposal in local, unofficial referendums.

At least 95 percent of voters in a total of five villages have now opposed hosting the radar base, to be located at a military training site in the Brdy hills southwest of Prague.

The installation is part of an missile-defense shield that the United States wants to locate in Central Europe, with 10 interceptor missiles to be moved to Poland.

The nonbinding referendums come ahead of a visit to Prague by U.S. President George W. Bush on June 4-5.

Meanwhile, Russian President Vladimir Putin says Russia will aim missiles at targets in Europe if the United States goes ahead with the new missile defense near Russia's borders.

In an interview with international media, Putin said the installations planned for Poland and the Czech Republic mark the first time that elements of the U.S. nuclear system are being moved to Europe.

Russia has opposed to the plan, and has tested a new missile designed to penetrate such a shield.

(AFP, Reuters)