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Russia wants missile details from U.S.

MOSCOW, March 19 (UPI) — Russia wants more information from the U.S. Defense Department on what it plans to do with missile defense in Eastern Europe, a defense official said.

U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said last week the Defense Department would scale back missile defense plans for Poland. He stressed a missile shield along the U.S. West Coast was needed to protect against threats from North Korea.

Sergei Koshelev, director of the Military Cooperation Department, said Russia was looking for clarification on Hagel’s plans.

“We need to hold negotiations to understand what this statement is about, what the United States is scrapping in particular and what is eventually implementing. Only after this we will be drawing conclusions,” he was quoted by state-owned news agency RIA Novosti as saying.

Russian defense officials this week said they didn’t view the realignment as a concession.

Russia last year expressed concern about missile defense plans in Eastern Europe. The government said the plans would upset the regional balance of power, though the U.S. military said defense was needed against regimes like Iran and North Korea. Russia said it wanted security guarantees that its national interests wouldn’t be targeted.

Copyright 2013 United Press International, Inc. (UPI).

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