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Lavrov says Russia's defence is paramount in missile dispute

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Lavrov says Russia's defence is paramount in missile dispute

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Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has warned that Moscow will not let itself be provoked by Washington’s missile shield project, saying his government had an obligation to protect its citizens.

Vladimir Putin has theatened to point missiles at targets in Europe, if the installations in Poland and the Czech Republic go ahead.

Washington says the shield is against rogue states. Were long-range missiles to be fired from the Middle East, for example, the quickest route to the US would be over central Europe and via the North Pole.

Demonstrations against the project were held in the Czech Republic to coincide with US President George W. Bush’s visit there. Opinion polls have indicated a majority of the population is against cooperation.