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Russia becoming 'unpredictable' - Polish defense minister

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Russia, which has suspended the Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe (CFE), is becoming an unpredictable country, the Polish defense minister said Monday.
WARSAW, July 16 (RIA Novosti) - Russia, which has suspended the Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe (CFE), is becoming an unpredictable country, the Polish defense minister said Monday.

Aleksander Szczyglo is accompanying Polish President Lech Kaczynski on a working visit to the U.S. to discuss American plans to deploy elements of a missile defense system in Poland.

"This visit has coincided with President Putin's decision to freeze the implementation of the CFE Treaty. It is a decision that puts Russia in the same league with countries that, in plain language, are called unpredictable," Szczyglo said in an interview with Polish journalists in Washington. "This is dangerous both for Europe and for Russia."

The Polish defense minister said he believes the Kremlin's CFE moratorium has been dictated by domestic policy considerations.

"Ahead of the upcoming parliamentary and presidential elections, the Russian authorities are attempting to rally the Russian people around them, asserting that Russia is in danger. This is not true," he said.

U.S. plans to place elements of its missile shield in Poland and the Czech Republic have become one of the main issues of contention in relations between Russia and the United States, bringing them recently to their lowest point since the Cold War.

President Vladimir Putin declared over the weekend that Russia would suspend its participation in the CFE Treaty in an apparent response to U.S. actions that angered Moscow.

Poland, as well as other NATO countries, said it was "astonished" by Russia's moratorium on the treaty, but reaffirmed its readiness to cooperate with the U.S. on missile shield plans.

The Polish president is scheduled to visit the Vandenberg Air Force base, about 130 miles (209 kilometers) northwest of Los Angeles, where two missile silos and the Ground-Based Midcourse Defense Office are located.

If the talks between Warsaw and Washington are successful, the U.S. is planning to place 10 missile interceptors in Poland by 2013, with the first missile complex put on combat duty as early as 2011.

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