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Last Updated: Thursday, 14 February 2008, 11:20 GMT
Putin repeats threat on missiles
Russian President Vladimir Putin
Mr Putin spoke of 'retargeting our missiles' at any US missile shield
Russian President Vladimir Putin has repeated his threat to target missiles at neighbouring states if they site parts of the planned US missile shield.

Mr Putin said the US proposal to base interceptors in Poland and a radar in the Czech Republic "threatens our national security".

The Russian leader said earlier this week Moscow might target Ukraine if it sited elements of such a system.

The US says it is designed to block any missiles from North Korea or Iran.

Every country must protect its own national interests and President Putin is reacting to the threat posed by Ukraine's Nato membership
BBC News website reader Dmitri Vysotski, Moscow, Russia

But Mr Putin reiterated Russian objections to the shield, during his annual news conference at the Kremlin.

"We will then probably be forced to retarget some of our missile systems at these systems, which threaten us," he said.

"We are warning people ahead of time: if you take this step, then we will make this step."

Russia holds presidential elections next month, which are widely expected to be won by Mr Putin's chosen successor, First Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev.

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