Page last updated at 15:57 GMT, Wednesday, 12 November 2008

Russia rejects US missile offer

US missile interceptor test (file pic)
The US plans a global shield to protect against "rogue" states

Russia has rejected US proposals aimed at easing Moscow's concerns over a planned missile shield in central Europe, a Kremlin source has said.

The source said the proposals by the Bush administration were "insufficient" and would put President-elect Barack Obama "in a dead-end situation".

The US insists the shield is a defence against missiles from "rogue" nations, but Russia sees it as a direct threat.

Moscow has said it will deploy missiles in the Baltic to neutralise the shield.

Last week, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said he had been forced to respond to the US plans by putting short-range Iskander missiles in the Kaliningrad enclave, between Poland and Lithuania.

Further talks

"Russia is ready to co-operate with the US on the issues of European security, but considers the [US missile shield] proposals that were sent are insufficient," the unnamed Kremlin source was quoted as saying by Russian news agencies.

The Iskander missile system. File photo
Russia's Iskander missiles have a range of up to 400km (250 miles)

The source said "the current [Bush] administration wants at any price to show" that there was no alternative to deploying the US missile shield in Poland and the Czech Republic.

The proposals were aimed at "putting the new US president in a dead-end situation, so that he should take responsibility for what was concocted without him," the source added.

The proposals have not been made public, but previous US initiatives included, among other things, offers to allow Russia to send observers to monitor the missile defence sites, according to the Associated Press news agency.

Moscow and Washington are due to hold further talks on the issue next month.

Previous meetings have failed to make progress, and the next round could be the last chance for the two sides to overcome their differences before the Bush administration leaves office in January, the BBC's James Rodgers in Moscow says.

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