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Russia says can respond to possible U.S. missile shield threats

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Russia's foreign minister said his country had highly professional experts capable of responding to potential threats posed by a European missile shield the United States is planning to deploy.
MOSCOW, November 28 (RIA Novosti) - Russia's foreign minister said his country had highly professional experts capable of responding to potential threats posed by a European missile shield the United States is planning to deploy.

Russia is fiercely opposed to U.S. plans to deploy new missile defense bases in Poland and the Czech Republic, suggesting that Washington use radars on Russian soil to counter possible attacks from "rogue" states. The two countries have held a series of talks on the issue.

"We have top class experts, military planners, who can see how it will affect our security and who will have to take retaliatory measures," Sergei Lavrov said upon his return from a Middle East peace conference in the U.S.

The U.S. plans to deploy ten interceptor missiles in Poland and a radar in the Czech Republic. The first missile could be put on combat duty in Europe by 2011, and all ten of them could be fully deployed by 2013.

Lavrov said Washington continued to insist that its missile shield plans in Europe were linked to the threat coming from Iran.

"They still say that," he said. "But there must be some lack of coordination here because the Czech premier has repeatedly said that they need components of the U.S. missile defense on their territory to protect themselves from Russia."

He added Polish leaders had previously made identical statements.

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