Russia stands down on missile battery

Sept. 18, 2009 at 11:30 AM
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MOSCOW, Sept. 18 (UPI) -- Russia will abandon its planned rocket battery in response to President Barack Obama's shelving of the U.S. missile defense shield in Europe, officials said.

Russian military sources said Moscow would table plans to both deploy truck-mounted Iskander missiles and locate nuclear-capable T-22 bombers in Kaliningrad, The Daily Telegraph in London reported Friday.

Kaliningrad borders the European Union countries of Poland and Lithuania. Russian President Dmitry Medvedev had said the Iskander missiles could be used "if necessary" to "neutralize" the missile shield if it were built.

"Undoubtedly, Washington's cancellation of its missile defense facilities will not go unnoticed," the military official said. "The array of measures which were planned in response to the deployment of the missile defense sites in Europe will be frozen, and will possibly be completely canceled."

Obama Thursday said the United States would shelve the controversial missile shield and radar in favor of a land- and sea-based defense system.

The now-shelved missile system -- sought by former President George W. Bush -- would have placed a radar site in Poland and 10 interceptor missiles in the Czech Republic. Russian leaders said their country's national security was threatened by the system.

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