US missile shield will harm Europe : Putin

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Moscow, Nov 24 (UNI) Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin today said Europe would be worst affected by the deployment of US missile shield on its territory.

''It is unclear who could benefit from these actions. But we know that the world as a whole, and in particular Europe, would certainly be the losers,'' Mr Putin said at the international forum on Humanitarian Law in St Petersburg.

Moscow has repeatedly opposed the planned deployment of 10 interceptor missiles in Poland and a tracking radar in the Czech Republic, saying they will pose a threat to its security.

Washington claims the bases are needed to counter possible strikes from ''rogue'' states such as Iran.

''No matter what our US partners say, this project is aimed against Russia's strategic potential, and we have no choice but to respond to it appropriately,'' the prime minister noted.

Russia has already announced to deploy Iskander-M short-range missiles in Kaliningrad region, near Poland and Lithuania, if the US missile defence system was deployed.

However, Mr Putin reiterated the Kremlin's pledge that ''if the new US administration abandons its plans to deploy the missile defence sites in Poland and the Czech Republic, the issue of Russia's response measures will be dropped.'' ''As a result, we will be able to break the dangerous negative trend on the European continent,'' he said.

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