Russia's Waving its Missiles Around Again...


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Russia will deploy missiles near NATO member Poland in response to U.S. missile defense plans, President Dmitry Medvedev said Wednesday in his first state of the nation speech.

Medvedev also singled out the United States for criticism, casting Russia's war with Georgia in August and the global financial turmoil as consequences of aggressive, selfish U.S. policies.

He said he hoped the next U.S. administration would act to improve relations. In a separate telegram, he congratulated Barack Obama on his election victory and said he was hoping for "constructive dialogue" with the incoming U.S. president.

Medvedev also proposed increasing the Russian presidential term to six years from the current four, a major constitutional change that would further increase the power of the head of state and could deepen Western concern over democracy in Russia.

The president said the Iskander missiles will be deployed to Russia's Kaliningrad region, which lies between Poland and the ex-Soviet republic of Lithuania on the Baltic Sea, but did not say how many would be used. Equipment to electronically hamper the operation of prospective U.S. missile defense facilities in Poland and the Czech Republic will be deployed, he said.

He did not say whether the short-range Iskander missiles would be fitted with nuclear warheads and it was not clear exactly when the missiles would be deployed.

"Mechanisms must be created to block mistaken, egoistical and sometimes simply dangerous decisions of certain members of the international community," he said shortly after starting the 85-minute speech, making it clear he was referring to the United States.

The president said Georgia sparked the August war on its territory with what he called "barbaric aggression" against Russian-backed South Ossetia. The conflict "was, among other things, the result of the arrogant course of the American administration, which did not tolerate criticism and preferred unilateral decisions."

Medvedev also painted Russia as a country threatened by growing Western military might.

-- Christian

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