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CIS: New US missile plan raises 'questions': Russia

Sat Oct 10 04:45:32 EST 2009
Fri Oct 9 17:45:32 UTC 2009

CHISINAU, Oct 9 AFP - The new missile plan from US President Barack Obama's administration raises questions and Moscow is waiting for Washington to explain its intentions, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Friday.

"The statements that are constantly being voiced raise more questions than answers," Lavrov told reporters during a visit to the Moldovan capital for a summit of ex-Soviet countries.

"We would like to receive full clarification," Levrov added, referring to the plan presented by the Obama administration last month to replace an older plan backed by George W. Bush that would have placed missile defence facilities in eastern Europe.

Moscow and Washington are now holding talks so Russia can "understand the configuration" of the new missile defence system, Lavrov said, but he added that reports of some US proposals were raising eyebrows in Moscow.

He said a recent US report that the United States might include Ukraine in its missile defence plans was "rather unexpected."

US defence publication Defence News reported on Thursday that Washington might consider Ukraine as part of its new anti-missile program, and had added the ex-Soviet country "to the list of possible early warning sites."

Defence News cited the source of the report as Alexander Vershbow, US assistant secretary of defence for international security affairs.

"A statement by Alexander Vershbow was rather unexpected," Lavrov said when asked to comment.

"He is a person who's prone to extravagancies," Lavrov added, referring to Vershbow, who is also a former US ambassador to Russia.

Lavrov's comments came ahead of a planned visit to Moscow by US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who is due be in Russia October 12-14.

Lavrov said Russian President Dmitry Medvedev would most likely meet with her during her stay in Moscow.

Lavrov accompanied Medvedev to a meeting of the Russia-led Commonwealth of Independent States, a group of ex-Soviet nations.