US missile shield in Europe targets Russia : Medvedev

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Moscow, Aug 15 (UNI) Russian President Dmitry Medvedev today said he had no doubt that the planned US missile-defence shield for Central Europe was aimed against Russia.

''The deployment of new missile-defence elements in Europe has the Russian Federation as its aim,'' he said in a televised joint press conference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in the Black Sea resort of Sochi.

The Russian President was commenting on the signing of an agreement between the United States and Poland yesterday to deploy ten US interceptor missiles in Poland.

The news came amid a military crisis in Georgia that has provoked strong criticism of Russia by the United States and other Western countries.

''We will continue working on this issue. We are ready to continue discussing these issues with all the parties,'' Mr Medvedev said.

Russia's Ambassador to NATO Dmitry Rogozin said by signing a missile defence agreement with the United States, Poland had effectively confirmed that the missile shield was aimed against Russia.

''The Poles should be thanked for helping reveal the strategic goal of the US missile defence plan," Mr Rogozin told RIA Novosti news agency.

The Deputy Chief of the General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces, Col Gen Anatoly Nogovitsyn said the Polish-US deal would worsen Russia's relationship with the United States.

"Regrettably, in the extremely difficult situation that has evolved today, the American side is aggravating the relationship between the US and Russia," he said.

Russia is strongly opposed to the missile shield plan, which it says will undermine its nuclear deterrent and threaten its national security.

However, Washington says its plan to place ten interceptor missiles in Poland coupled with a radar system in the Czech Republic are intended to counter possible attacks from what it calls "rogue states," including Iran.

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