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U.S. Rejects As Not Helpful Lukashenka Missile Offer

Belarusian President Alyaksandr Lukashenka
The United States has condemned as not "helpful" published remarks from Belarusian President Alyaksandr Lukashenka saying Belarus is ready to host Russian missiles to counter U.S. plans to install a missile-defense shield in Poland and the Czech Republic.

Lukashenka was quoted on November 14 in an interview with the U.S. "Wall Street Journal" newspaper as saying Russia had proposed putting Iskander missiles inside Belarus.

The Belarus president added that if Moscow decides not to proceed with deploying the missiles in Belarus, his government would like to purchase missiles from Russia and deploy them.

Lukashenka also said he fully supports Russia's threat to place Iskander missiles in Russia's western Kaliningrad terrritory to target the planned U.S. missile-defense system.

Responding to Lukashenka's remarks, U.S. State Department spokesman Robert Wood said threats to deploy missiles in the European theater were not helpful for regional stability.

The U.S. spokesman reiterated that the U.S. missile-shield plan is not aimed against Russia or Belarus, but is designed to counter what he called "rogue missile threats from the Middle East region, particularly from Iran."