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NATO: Putin's remarks not welcome

June 4, 2007 at 2:48 PM

BERLIN, June 4 (UPI) -- Russian President Vladimir Putin's threat to aim missiles at Europe are "unhelpful and unwelcome," a NATO spokesman said.

Putin told reporters Russia may aim missiles at European targets if the United States proceeds with plans to site a missile defense system in eastern Europe.

"As far as I am aware, the only country speculating about targeting Europe with missiles is the Russian Federation," NATO spokesman James Appathurai said, the BBC reported. "These kind of comments are unhelpful and unwelcome."

French President Nicolas Sarkozy said he will talk to Putin while attending his first G8 summit this week.

"I will listen attentively to him. He called for a frank dialogue. From my side, it will be frank," Sarkozy said, the BBC reported.

Putin dismissed the U.S. explanation that the missile system is aimed at Iran, saying Iran doesn't have the missile capacity to reach eastern Europe.

Iranian official Ali Larijani, meanwhile, described the defense system deployment as the "joke of the year." He said Iran's missiles were not capable of reaching Europe, the BBC reported.

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