Russia to respond militarily to US missile shield in Europe

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Moscow, Aug 27 (UNI) Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has said Russia will respond militarily to the deployment of US missile shield in Central Europe.

''These missiles are close to our borders and constitute a threat to us,'' President Medvedev said in an interview to the Al-Jazeera television.

''This will create additional tension and we will have to respond to it in some way, naturally using military means,'' he stressed.

The deal to deploy 10 interceptor missiles in Poland was reached earlier this month. The US and Czech Republic signed an agreement on July 8 to deploy a US radar in the Czech Republic.

Moscow had consistently expressed its opposition to the US missile shield, saying it threatened its national security.

The US however, claimed the shield was designed to thwart missile attacks by what it called ''rogue states,'' including Iran.

Mr Medvedev said that offering NATO membership to Georgia and Ukraine, two former Soviet republics, would only aggravate the situation.

He added that the Ukrainian people should be asked their opinion in national referendum.

Opinion polls have consistently shown that a majority of Ukrainians are against their country joining the Western military alliance.

UNI XC SLD AS1621

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