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Ballistic missiles in E. Europe threaten Russia - chief of staff

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The deployment of ballistic missiles in eastern Europe poses a threat to Russia, the chief of the country's General Staff said Wednesday.

(Recasts, adds paragraphs 2-7)

MOSCOW, May 24 (RIA Novosti) - The deployment of ballistic missiles in eastern Europe poses a threat to Russia, the chief of the country's General Staff said Wednesday.

General Yury Baluyevsky said U.S. plans to deploy ballistic missiles in eastern Europe, possibly in Poland and Romania, as part of its missile shield presented a certain danger to Russia.

"The very fact of the deployment of the first-line missile defenses in this region is unequivocally intended to neutralize Russia's strategic potential," he said.

Baluyevsky said Russia did not need a new round of the arms race, adding that President Vladimir Putin had also addressed this issue in his May 10 state of the nation address.

"In the next five years, we must significantly increase the procurement of modern aircraft, submarines and strategic missiles for the Armed Forces," Putin said.

He said current research was focused on the development of unique high-precision weapons and warheads "whose trajectory could not be predicted by a potential enemy."

The new weaponry will allow the country to maintain the strategic balance of forces in the world, Putin said.

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