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KDH and Smer MPs critical of US missile shield plans

BORIS Zala (Smer), the head of the parliamentary foreign affairs committee, says he thinks that pressure exerted by the United States on Russia in the military sphere is inappropriate, and is provoking Russia to respond.

Zala made the comments while speaking on February 20 about Washington's plans to install parts of a missile defense system in the Czech Republic and Poland to counter an alleged ballistic missile threat from Iran and North Korea.

After the governments of Poland and the Czech Republic in mid-February indicated their readiness to allow the US to base rockets and radar systems on their territories, the commander-in-chief of Russia's strategic missile forces, Nikolai Solovtsov, said that if Prague and Warsaw went ahead with their decision, Russia would target the new systems.

Zala said that while Moscow's rhetoric is exaggerated, the country has sent a message that it will not be pushed into a corner by the Americans, and that Europe will have to deal with Russia as a political force.

According to Zala, for the last 15 years Americans have been ignoring Russia's military strength. The Smer MP stressed that Russia has stabilized its economy and from now on will concentrate on strengthening its global military-strategic position.

Vladimír Palko, an MP with the opposition Christian Democratic Movement and a member of the parliamentary Defense and Security Committee, said that if the US asked Slovakia to let it build an anti-missile system here, he would not support it.

Palko said that while the language Moscow was using in its response to the US plan was harmful, he believes the US initiative to set up a missile shield in the Czech Republic and Poland is a controversial one.

"I support Slovakia's NATO membership, and I appreciate the contribution of the United States to freedom and democracy in Slovakia, but I do not understand these military activities by which the US is provoking the Russian Federation," Palko said for the SITA news agency.

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