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Russia delays Euro missile deployment

Jan. 28, 2009 at 8:00 AM

MOSCOW, Jan. 28 (UPI) -- Russia is suspending its plans to place short-range missiles in Eastern Europe in an olive branch to new U.S. President Barack Obama, Russian media reported.

A report carried Wednesday by the Interfax news agency quoted an official from Russia's General Staff in Moscow indicating that Moscow is delaying plans to site missiles in its Baltic enclave of Kaliningrad, The Times of London reported.

The Interfax report quoted the unnamed official saying the move to suspend deployment of the nuclear-capable Iskander short-range missiles was being made "because the new U.S. administration is not pushing ahead with the plans to deploy … the U.S. missile defense system in Poland and the Czech Republic."

Efforts by the Bush administration to place elements of an anti-missile system in Eastern Europe has been a major irritant to the Kremlin, which says the system is meant to aid NATO expansionist plans. Russian President Dmitri Medvedev ordered the missiles to be placed in Kaliningrad the day after Obama's Nov. 4 election, The Times said.

The apparent olive branch came as Russian Prime Minister Vladmir Putin prepared to attend Wednesday's World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

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