Russia Bristles at Landmark US-Czech Deal

Moscow threatens military action against anti-missile system
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 8, 2008 7:00 PM CDT
Czech demonstrators protest against a missile defense radar system in downtown Prague, Czech Republic, Tuesday, July 8, 2008.    (AP Photo/Bela Szandelszky)
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(Newser) – Russia today blasted a landmark deal between the US and Czech Republic with rhetoric reminiscent of the Cold War. After Czech officials agreed to let the US use its territory for a missile-defense system, Moscow threatened military retaliation, Reuters reports. The Kremlin views the deployment of the system in former Soviet territory as a hostile action, though the US insists it is intended to block missiles from rogue nations such as Iran.

"If the real deployment of an American strategic missile defense shield begins close to our borders, then we will be forced to react not with diplomatic methods, but with military-technical methods," said the Kremlin, which offered no specifics. Under the deal—the first such US pact with any nation in central or eastern Europe—Czech officials will allow the US to set up the system's radar. The US still needs permission to put interceptor missiles in neighboring Poland.