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Poland, Russia to discuss missile defense in Warsaw, Jan 10

A Russian delegation, led by Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Kislyak, will visit Warsaw on January 10, 2008 to discuss the US missile shield plans, a Polish official said on Friday.

Earlier this month, Polish Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski invited Russian experts to discuss the deployment of US missile defense elements in Warsaw. Washington wants to place a radar in the Czech Republic and 10 missile interceptors in Poland, purportedly to counter a missile threat from Iran and other „rogue” states. Moscow has responded angrily to the plans, saying the European shield would destroy the strategic balance of forces and threaten Russia’s national interests. Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk last Sunday slammed a warning from the Russian military chief of staff that a possible US anti-missile launch from Poland could provoke a Russian counterattack.

Gen. Yury Baluyevsky said that the launch of a missile from an US anti-missile system in Poland could be misread by Moscow’s automated missile warning systems and could trigger a counterattack by Russian intercontinental ballistic missiles. Russia has offered the US use of radar stations at Gabala in Azerbaijan, and Armavir in south Russia, as alternatives to missile shield deployment in Central Europe. Washington said, though, it could use these radars only as additional components of the European shield. (