US plans to base an anti missile system in Poland and the Czech republic, have revealed the coolest relations between America and Russia for years.
America says Europe would have protection against attack from what it calls rogue states, like Iran or North Korea
Because of their proposed location in former Eastern bloc countries, Moscow sees them as a threat, and says they would be better placed in Russia itself.
The US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice played down any rift between the two superpowers.
“These discussions go back to the Spring of 2006. We have had no less than 10 fomal contacts with the Russians about the missile defence deployment,” she said.
In an escalation of the rhetoric, Russian General Nikolai Solovtsov had previously said that US installations in Poland and the Czech Republic could themselves become targets for Russian missiles.
And President Putin described the plans as a threat to his country’s national security, accusing the US of imposing its will on the world with dangerous policies.
In Poland, a recent opinion poll showed a split between those who want the system and those who believe it will make Poland a target.