Moscow- Russian President Vladimir Putin said after a meeting with Czech President Vaclav Klaus today that the U.S. plan to build an anti-missile base in Europe is a threat similar to U.S. Pershing missiles.
He said Russian reserves the right to defence, but added that the U.S. plans should not affect Russian-Czech relations.
"The radar is part of U.S. armed forces. For the first time in history, parts of the American strategic complex are appearing in Europe. This is like the stationing of Pershings," Putin said after meeting Klaus, who is on a four-day visit to Russia.
Klaus repeated during his talks with Putin that the Czech Republic does not consider the radar as aimed against the Russian Federation. He emphasised that he cares very much about mutual understanding on this issue.
Like Putin, Klaus pointed out that the radar issue would not markedly impair Czech-Russian relations.
However, when speaking to journalists, Putin rejected Klaus's arguments and said that they have not convinced him.
"We cannot remain unconcerned by what has been going on in Europe in terms of armament. We are doing our utmost to fulfil our commitments. No heavy weapons have been left in the European part of Russia. NATO, however, wants to place two new bases in Bulgaria and Romania, and two parts of the missile defence system in Poland and the Czech Republic. Russia has been disarming itself while its partners fill the space with new kinds of weapons," Putin said. The construction of a missile defence base, including a radar and a silo with missiles in the Czech Republic and Poland, respectively, is planned by the USA. Its possible inclusion in the NATO defence system has not been decided on for the time being.