MOSCOW, May 11 (UPI) -- Russia will link the issues of a U.S. Central European missile defense shield and bilateral strategic arms reductions, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin says.
Speaking to Japanese media Sunday, Putin said one issue naturally flows into the other and both will addressed in upcoming talks with U.S. representatives, RIA Novosti reported.
"One needn't be an expert to understand: if one party wants or would have an umbrella against all kinds of threats, this party would develop an illusion that it is allowed to do anything and then the aggressiveness of its actions will increase ... and the threat of global confrontation will reach a very dangerous level," Putin reportedly said.
The United States has signed agreements with the Czech Republic and Poland on hosting a missile defense system, which Russia opposes as a threat to its security. Meanwhile, the first round of bilateral negotiations on a new nuclear arms reduction treaty will be held in Moscow next week, the news agency said.
Those talks are aimed at replacing the expiring 1991 START 1 pact, officials say.