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Missile defence still a thorn in US-Russia relations

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Missile defence still a thorn in US-Russia relations


Tension between the US and Russia over plans for an American missile defence shield in Europe has resurfaced.

This just months after President Obama agreed to try to allay Russian concerns by scrapping part of George W Bush’s plans.

Prime Minister Vladimir Putin was asked by reporters what was holding up progress on a new Russian-US nuclear arms reduction treaty.

He said: “It is known that our American partners are building an anti-missile defence system and we are not building one. But the problem of anti-missile defence and offensive weapons are closely connected.”

Observers say cutting the thousands of nuclear weapons accumulated during the Cold War is the centrepiece of Obama’s efforts on the so-called resetting of relations with Moscow.

But Putin’s latest remarks make it clear there is still deep unease about Obama’s revised missile defence plans. They consist of sea and land-based missile interceptors in Europe.

Russia claims the plan will disrupt what it calls a strategic balance in the region.

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