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Russia could scrap Baltic missile plans following U.S. move

MOSCOW, September 18 (RIA Novosti) - Russia could abandon plans to deploy tactical missiles in its Baltic exclave in response to the U.S. decision to drop its missile shield plans for Central Europe, a high-ranking military source said on Friday.

U.S. President Barack Obama announced on Thursday that Washington would not deploy missile defense elements in the Czech Republic and Poland, due to a re-assessment of the threat from Iran.

"In response to the U.S. intention to drop its missile shield plans in Europe, the Russian General Staff could decide not to deploy a reinforced group of Iskander missiles in the country's west [Kaliningrad Region]," the source told RIA Novosti.

The George W. Bush administration sought to deploy a radar station in the Czech Republic and interceptor missiles in Poland as defense against potential strikes from Iran. Russia consistently opposed the plans as a threat to its security and the strategic balance of forces in Europe.

In response to Bush administration's plans, President Dmitry Medvedev said last November that Russia would deploy Iskander-M missiles in Kaliningrad, which borders NATO members Poland and Lithuania, if the shield was put into operation.






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