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Russia may not answer missile defense with Iskanders - Medvedev


LONDON, April 2 (RIA Novosti) - Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said on Thursday there is a good chance Russia will not have to place Iskander missiles in the Kaliningrad Region in response to the U.S. missile shield in Europe.

"We had a talk on this issue with the U.S. president. At a minimum I can say that today the U.S. has a desire to listen to our argument. They are not trying to cut off [talks] and say that the decision has already been made," Medvedev said in a speech at the London School of Economics.

Russia has consistently opposed the missile shield as a threat to its national security and the president said last November that it would deploy Iskander-M missiles in the country's westernmost exclave of Kaliningrad, which borders NATO members Poland and Lithuania, if the shield was put into operation.

Medvedev said that financing the missile defense system in its present form would be "a mistake" that would remain on the Bush administration's conscience, adding that both countries would make every effort "to find a way out of this difficult situation."

Washington has agreed with Warsaw and Prague on plans to deploy 10 interceptor missiles in Poland and a radar in the Czech Republic by 2013. The United States says the defenses are needed to deter possible strikes from "rogue states" such as Iran.

Top Russian officials have repeatedly expressed their hope that President Obama will not follow through with the missile defense plans of his predecessor, George W. Bush.

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