Thursday, July 10, 2008

CORRECTED: U.S, Czechs sign missile deal, upsetting Moscow

By Arshad Mohammed and Jan Lopatka

PRAGUE (Reuters) - The United States signed a pact on Tuesday to build part of a U.S. missile defense shield in the Czech Republic, prompting Russia to warn it will react with military means if the shield is deployed.

The U.S. and Czech foreign ministers toasted with champagne after signing the accord to place a tracking radar southwest of Prague as part of a system to protect against the perceived threat of missile attack from countries such as Iran.

But Russia, in a statement reminiscent of Cold War rhetoric, warned the United States against deploying the shield close to its borders.

"If the real deployment of an American strategic missile defense shield begins close to our borders, then we will be forced to react not with diplomatic methods, but with military-technical methods," the Foreign Ministry said in a statement on its www.mid.ru website.

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