Moscow Backs Down on Missile Shield

Putin's tough talk yields to unexpected compromise proposal
By Wesley Oliver,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 7, 2007 1:55 PM CDT
U.S. President George W. Bush, left, and Russian President Vladimir Putin seen after their meeting at the G8 Summit in Heiligendamm, Germany, Thursday, June 7, 2007. (AP Photo/RIA-Novosti, Presidential...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – After weeks of exchanging sharp criticism with US officials, Vladimir Putin today suggested a truce over a controversial missile shield in Eastern Europe. In talks with President Bush at the G8 summit, the Russian president reversed course and said Moscow would support US plans for the shield if it is based in Azerbaijan. Bush called the idea "interesting."

The US has wanted the system to be housed in Poland and the Czech Republic; Putin's suggestion of the existing installation in the former Soviet republic came as a surprise, the AP reports. Lower-level officials will explore the proposal, and the heads of state will discuss it when Putin visits the Bush family compound in Maine next month.