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    Russia sees U.S. missile shield as threat to nuclear deterrent

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    Moscow regards U.S. plans to deploy missile defense bases in Central Europe as an attempt to weaken Russia's nuclear deterrent, the official Foreign Ministry spokesman said on Monday.

    MOSCOW, December 24 (RIA Novosti) - Moscow regards U.S. plans to deploy missile defense bases in Central Europe as an attempt to weaken Russia's nuclear deterrent, the official Foreign Ministry spokesman said on Monday.

    "If a radar [in the Czech Republic] along with missiles in Poland are deployed, this will be a military operation ...to weaken Russia's nuclear deterrent potential," Mikhail Kamynin said in a statement.

    "We will have no other option but to take measures to make up for this new factor in our strategic balance of forces with the United States."

    Kamynin cited a recent newspaper interview by Czech Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg, who said it would be logical for the U.S. radar to monitor Russian territory.

    "Such statements by Czech leaders ...show that talk about a missile threat from Iran is ungrounded. Czech diplomats are telling things like they are, revealing the true goal behind the Third [missile defense] Site in Europe - a threat supposedly emanating from Russia," Kamynin said.

    Moscow has fiercely opposed Washington's missile shield plans in Europe as a threat to its national security. The U.S. has argued the new bases are needed to counter missile attacks from "rogue" states. Bilateral talks on a compromise have so far failed to yield results.

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