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Moscow Again Links Missile Defense, Arms Cuts

MOSCOW (Reuters) -- Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has said in a newly published interview that the United States must compromise on plans for a missile-defense system in Europe to get a deal on cutting back nuclear warheads.

U.S. President Barack Obama arrives in Moscow on July 6 to meet Medvedev and discuss ways to replace the 1991 Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START I) before it expires on December 5.

Russia says a deal on START is possible but has linked any agreement with Washington's plans to deploy a missile-defense system in Europe that Moscow says is a threat to its national security.

"We consider these issues are interconnected," Medvedev said in an interview with Italian media that was broadcast on Russian state television on July 5.

Medvedev said Obama's administration was ready to discuss missile defense but that a compromise was needed to move forward on finding a replacement for the START treaty. Washington says it has not made a final decision on missile defense yet.

"It is sufficient to show restraint and show an ability to compromise. And then we can agree on the basis of a new deal on START and at the same time can agree on the question of how we move forward on anti-missile defense," Medvedev said.