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The prospective U.S. missile defense shield in Central Europe targets Russia's
The prospective U.S. missile defense shield in Central Europe targets Russia's nuclear deterrent, Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Ivanov said Friday.

Speaking at the 45th Munich Conference on Security Policy, he also said Russia is proposing including a ban on the placement of strategic offensive weapons outside national borders in a new Russia-U.S. arms reduction agreement.

Ivanov said Russia would not deploy Iskander missile systems in the Kaliningrad Region if the United States gave up its missile shield plans.

President Dmitry Medvedev "from the very start said clearly" that if "there are no interceptors in Poland and the Czech Republic ... there will be no Iskanders in Kaliningrad," he said.

Moscow has strongly opposed U.S. plans to deploy 10 interceptor missiles in Poland and a radar in the Czech Republic by 2013 as a threat to its security and nuclear deterrent. Washington says the defenses are needed to deter possible strikes from "rogue states" such as Iran.

Medvedev threatened in November to retaliate over the U.S. missile shield plans in central Europe by deploying Iskander-M missiles in the country's westernmost exclave of Kaliningrad, which borders NATO members Poland and Lithuania.

However, a high ranking Russian Defense Ministry source recently said that Russia had taken no practical measures to deploy the systems in Kaliningrad, and Russian officials have said they expect the new U.S. administration to change its stance on the deployment of 10 interceptor missiles in Poland and a radar in the Czech Republic.

Russia and the United States should negotiate a new nuclear arms pact this year, and Ivanov said that the new agreement should not only reduce the number of warheads, but also limit their deployment within the national borders of the two nuclear powers.

The Strategic Arms Reduction (START-1) Treaty signed between the Soviet Union and the United States in 1991 expires on December 5, 2009.

It places a limit of 6,000 strategic or long-range nuclear warheads on each side, and limits the number of delivery vehicles, such as bombers, land-based and submarine-based missiles, to 1,600 each.


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