Russia Scraps Plan for Nukes Near Europe

Moscow doesn't need missiles if US ditches own program in region
By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 28, 2009 5:27 AM CST
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev listens to Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov, right, during a meeting at the Gorki presidential residence, outside Moscow on Thursday, Jan. 22, 2009.   (AP Photo/ RIA Novosti, Vladimir Rodionov, Presidential Press Service)
camera-icon View 2 more images

(Newser) – Russia will abandon its plans to deploy nuclear-capable missiles near Poland, the country's defense ministry said today. The Kremlin pulled back on the plan after President Obama announced a review of the Pentagon's controversial missile defense shield program in the region. The move offers an olive branch to Washington, says the Guardian, and puts pressure on the Pentagon to scrap its own program.

"Russia does not need to deploy Iskanders in the Kaliningrad region if the US does not install its missile defense facilities in eastern Europe," said one official in Moscow. Russia's newly dovish tone comes as Prime Minister Vladimir Putin makes a major speech later today in Davos. Putin is attending the World Economic Forum, a signal that he— and not president Dmitry Medvedev—remains Russia's paramount leader.