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Russia unfazed by U.S. missile defense

March 18, 2013 at 11:20 AM

MOSCOW, March 18 (UPI) -- The Russian government doesn't consider U.S. plans to hold off on missile defense plans in Poland as some sort of concession, the deputy foreign minister said.

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov told Russian news agency Kommersant that NATO plans for Eastern Europe were frustrating.

Last week, U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said some considerations for missile defense in Poland and elsewhere may be weighed against an emerging threat from North Korea.

"That is not a concession to Russia, nor do we regard it as such," Ryabkov said. "All aspects of strategic uncertainty related to the creation of a U.S. and NATO missile defense system remain. Therefore, our objections also remain."

U.S. plans for missile defense in Europe have frustrated a Russian government mindful of the regional balance of power. Hagel said he was eyeing missile defense for the U.S. West Coast because of North Korean aggression.

North Korea in February carried out an underground nuclear test said to be part of a campaign against the United States.

Hagel said U.S. defense commitment to its NATO allies, however, was "iron-clad." U.S. Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs Wendy Sherman arrived Monday in Warsaw to address Poland's security needs.

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