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Russia expects access to US defence shield in Czech Republic: reports

AFP [1]
Tuesday, Oct 21, 2008

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Monday that Moscow expects to be given permanent access to parts of a US anti-missile shield to be installed in the Czech Republic, Russian news agencies said.

“A non-permanent presence, meaning limited visits, changes nothing except to reinforce our suspicions,” Lavrov said on arriving at the Armenian capital of Yerevan, where the Russian president is on a visit, the Ria Novosti news agency reported.

“We welcome the idea of a permanent Russian presence and a permanent check, both physical and technical, and this would assuage our fears,” Interfax news agency quoted Lavrov as saying.

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Last month Prague and Washington signed an agreement clearing the way for stationing US missile defence radar in the Czech Republic by around 2012.

The radar would be paired with 10 interceptor missiles stationed in Poland with the aim of countering any missile threat from a “rogue” country, such as Iran.

Moscow has vehemently objected to the stationing of the missile defences in the former Soviet bloc countries, insisting that it could one day be turned against Russia.