U.S. Plans Deployment of Missile Defense in Eastern Europe to extend the coverage of its missile defense system, the US opened formal negotiations with Poland and the Czech Republic about basing elements of the U.S. anti-ballistic missile system in Eastern Europe. The purpose of these systems will be to provide for a ‘first line of defense’ against attacks by ‘rogue states’.

The interceptors will provide protection for both Europe and the continental United States, from single missile firings or small salvos of ballistic missiles launched from Iran or North Korea. However, the steps are causing significant concern in Russia. Russia has been a persistent critic of the proposed European installations. On Monday, Lieutenant-General Vladimir Popovkin, chief of the Space Forces branch of the Russian military, told reporters in Moscow the placement of the U.S. facilities in the two former Warsaw Pact states would create a clear threat to Russia.

Since their formal acceptance into the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) in 1999, both Poland and the Czech Republic have become US Allays. Under the new scheme, a number of interceptor missiles would be based in Poland. By 2010 the US plans to have missile-defense radar operational in the neighboring Czech Republic.

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