Putin Praises US for Ditching Missile Shield

But Moscow may not support nuclear sanctions against Iran
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 18, 2009 11:08 AM CDT
Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin speaks at an international investment forum in the Black Sea resort of Sochi Friday.   (AP Photo/RIA Novosti, Alexei Druzhinin, pool)
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(Newser) – In a development sure to further tick off President Obama's critics on the right, Vladimir Putin says he's quite pleased with the decision to scrap an American missile-defense system in Eastern Europe, the New York Times reports. “I very much hope that this correct and brave decision will be followed by others,” said the Russian PM. Still unclear is whether Moscow will reward the US with more than just words—say, by supporting nuclear sanctions against Iran.

The US decision has angered Poland and the Czech Republic, as well as hawks in this country, but Moscow hard-liners aren't satisfied. They see the reconfigured US system, which focuses on small- and medium-range missiles, as a continuing threat. Said one: “This is like when somebody puts a Colt gun to your forehead and says, ‘This Colt is an obsolete one. I will take it away from your forehead and will put to your forehead a more rapid-firing, more modern and larger-caliber one.’"