February 6th, 2008 02:59 EST
Russia suggests U.S. missile-defense system could become target
State Duma Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Konstantin Kosachyov warned on February 4 that Russia could target components of the U.S. missile-defense system if they are deployed in Poland and the Czech Republic.
Kosachyov said that if the leadership of Poland and the Czech Republic agree to deploy elements of the U.S. missile-defense system, they should realize they will be making a "strategic choice and a choice that will affect the security of those countries," regnum.ru reported.
"Because the respective American installations, naturally, can become an object of control and possibly, in the worst case, a target for corresponding Russian defense systems. That circumstance must be clear to the utmost to the inhabitants of Poland [and] the inhabitants of the Czech Republic."
On February 1, Polish Foreign Minister Radek Sikorski announced following a meeting with U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice in Washington that Poland has agreed in principle to deploy elements of the U.S. missile-defense system after he received assurances the United States would help Poland strengthen its security.
Rice said in a joint news conference with Sikorski that the United States supports modernizing Poland's air defenses, Reuters reported.
Washington wants to deploy 10 interceptor missiles in Poland and a radar installation in the Czech Republic.
On February 3, Russia's ambassador to NATO, Dmitry Rogozin, warned Poland against deploying elements of the U.S. missile-defense system.
"I would like to remind [my] Polish colleagues of their recent history, which testifies to the fact that attempts to make Poland a state 'on the line of confrontation' have always led to tragedies -- thus, the Poles lost nearly a third of their people during World War II," Rogozin told Interfax. Polish Prime
Minister Donald Tusk will arrive in Moscow for talks on February 8.