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Russia unmoved by US missile defense plan change

Published on NewsOK Modified: March 18, 2013 at 12:02 pm •  Published: March 18, 2013

MOSCOW (AP) — A top Russian diplomat says the United States' cancellation of a critical part of its European missile defense system plan doesn't mollify Moscow's opposition.

U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel last week announced that plans to place long-range missile interceptors in Poland in the final stage of its European system are being abandoned. U.S. officials, however, stress that plans are on track to deploy shorter-range missiles to Poland and Romania within the next five years.

The long-range interceptors were to have been the final phase of a program that Russia contends aims to counter its own missiles. Washington says the system is meant to stop missiles from Iran and North Korea.

As part of the modification to its plans, Washington plans to put interceptors in Alaska to counter the growing threat from North Korea.

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov was quoted by the Kommersant newspaper Monday as saying: "We feel no euphoria in connection with what was announced by the U.S. defense secretary, and we see no grounds for correcting our position."

Hagel's announcement made no reference to Russia's objections to the plan, but the move initially raised expectations it could boost prospects for U.S.-Russian arms control negotiations.

Ryabkov was not quoted as commenting directly on arms control issues, but his remarks indicated Moscow was not appeased.

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