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Russia threatens to base missiles in Kaliningrad

Russia issues new missile threat

Russia has raised the idea of basing new missile forces in Kaliningrad, close to Poland and Lithuania.

Defence Minister Sergei Ivanov linked the possible move to US plans to locate parts of a new missile defence system in Poland and the Czech Republic.

Russia has already threatened to hit back by targeting missiles at Europe.

Mr Ivanov said there would be no need to move extra forces to Kaliningrad if the US agreed to use Russian facilities instead of the Polish and Czech bases.

Russia says the US plans for a limited missile defence shield represent a threat to its security.

It has proposed that the US should use a radar base in Azerbaijan, and another installation currently being built in southern Russia.

US President George W Bush has described the idea as "innovative" but indicated that the US will press ahead with the plans for a radar station in the Czech Republic, and a missile base in Poland.

"If our proposals are accepted, the need will disappear for Russia to deploy new missile weaponry in the European part of the country, including in Kaliningrad Region, in order to counter the threats that will arise if ABM elements are deployed in the Czech Republic and Poland," Mr Ivanov said, on a visit to Uzbekistan.