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This is good news. But…

Russia says its change of mind is based on a change of attitude in the US administration over plans to install a missile defence system in Eastern Europe.

‘Russia had said the US missile shield plan in Europe was a direct threat. In November last year, Mr Medvedev announced that short-range Iskander missiles would be deployed in Kaliningrad, bordering Poland, to neutralise the perceived US threat.’

Hmm.  Eastern European nations like Poland and the Czech Republic have much sounder historical reasons to be concerned about a Russian threat than Russia has to be concerned about any threat from America.

The missile defence plan has the full support of NATO, and of countries where it is (was?) to be placed. The US and NATO have said consistently the shield was intended to protect the US and its European allies from rogue states with developing nuclear potential – like Iran. But obviously the shield would also provide additional protection against any threat from Russia.

Any easing of tensions in relations between the US and Russia would be good. But not at the cost of the US deserting its NATO allies. Poland has already expressed concern at this possibility.

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