U.S. missile sites may be targets: Russia.

Russia could aim its ballistic rockets at U.S. missile defences in Europe, said a top commander on Wednesday.

"I do not rule out that missile defence facilities in Poland and the Czech Republic and other similar facilities in the future could be designated as targets for our intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs), provided the move is approved by the top military-political leadership," said Strategic Rocket Forces Commander General Nikolai Solovtsov.

Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Poland had agreed to host the U.S. missile shield as "revenge" on Russia for its military action in Georgia. Washington and Warsaw signed an agreement to base 10 missile interceptors in Poland on August 14, two days after Russia put down Georgia's military offensive in South Ossetia.

Direct threat

Ahead of his visit to Warsaw on Wednesday, Mr. Lavrov said Poland had joined a "very dangerous game," which had upset the military balance between Russia and the U.S. Washington said the missile shield in Europe would guard against a potential missile threat from Iran, but Moscow sees it as a direct threat to its nuclear arsenals.

"When they [the U.S.] unified Germany they promised that not a single NATO soldier would be there. And where are their soldiers now?" General Solovtsov was quoted as saying. Russia's armed forces would soon induct a new long-range nuclear missile, PS-24, armed with sophisticated multiple warheads, which "will securely guarantee the security of Russia and its allies till mid-21st century," he said.

Russia has formally asked the U.N. Security Council to impose an arms embargo on Georgia. Russia's U.N. envoy Vitaly Churkin on Tuesday tabled a draft resolution that called for a ban the supply of "arms or military equipment" to Georgia, as well as any military "assistance, consultations or training."

Washington quickly dismissed the Russian draft as a ploy to divert attention from Moscow's failure to withdraw its troops from Georgia. Mr. Lavrov said the plans of the U.S. and NATO to rearm Georgia showed they had not learnt any lessons from last month's events.

[Source: By Vladimir Radyuhin,The Hindu, Moscow, 11Sep08]

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The Question of South Ossetia
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