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Putin, Bush may sign missile shield document on April 6

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A joint document to be signed by the Russian and U.S. presidents on April 6 will include issues related to missile defense, a Kremlin source said on Tuesday.
MOSCOW, April 1 (RIA Novosti) - A joint document to be signed by the Russian and U.S. presidents on April 6 will include issues related to missile defense, a Kremlin source said on Tuesday.

George W. Bush will meet with Vladimir Putin in Sochi, Russia's resort city on the Black Sea, for more discussions on NATO's expansion and U.S. plans to deploy elements of its missile shield in Poland and the Czech Republic.

"Experts are working hard on a document within the strategic framework of Russian-U.S. cooperation," the source said.

"[The presidents'] joint statement will include provisions on missile defense," he added.

He also said the upcoming meeting would provide "a road map" for future presidents in both countries.

Bush said earlier on Tuesday that there would be no deal with Moscow on withdrawing American support for NATO bids by the former Soviet republics of Georgia and Ukraine in exchange for Russia's acceptance of a U.S. missile shield in Europe.

Speaking at a news conference in Kiev after talks with President Viktor Yushchenko, Bush signaled his support for the two ex-Soviet states' requests to enter the Membership Action Plan (MAP), a precursor for membership in the Western military alliance.

Asked by a reporter about rumors that Washington could strike a bargain with Moscow, he said: "That is a misperception - I strongly believe that Ukraine and Georgia should be given MAP, and there's no tradeoff, period."

The U.S. intends to deploy 10 missile interceptors in Poland and a radar in the Czech Republic, which it says will provide defense against 'rogue states' such as Iran. Moscow views the plans as a direct threat to its own security.

Moscow also vehemently opposes NATO's further expansion around its borders. The Kremlin threatened in February to target missiles at Ukraine if Kiev joins NATO and allows Western military facilities on its territory.

Bush's visit to Kiev is a stop-over before a trip to Romania for the April 2-4 NATO summit. Putin has also been invited to the summit.

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