Threat on Missile Site Repeated

Strategic Missile Forces chief Nikolai Solovtsov on Wednesday repeated warnings that Russian ballistic rockets could be aimed at U.S. missile defenses in Europe if the system is ever built, news agencies reported.

Solovtsov spoke a day before Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov was to visit Poland, which has agreed to allow U.S. missile interceptors on its territory.

"I cannot rule out that, in case the top military-political leadership makes such a decision, both the missile-defense facilities in Poland and the Czech Republic and other similar facilities in the future could be designated as targets for our ICBMs," Solovtsov said, Interfax reported.

Poland and the United States reached a deal last month on building the site for 10 U.S. missile interceptors by 2012.

Observers said the conclusion of the deal, clinched after months of protracted negotiations, was prompted by Russia's war last month with Georgia, which had alarmed former Soviet bloc countries and others neighboring Russia.

The United States has said the defenses are meant to protect itself and Europe and from attacks from Iran.

But Russian officials have said repeatedly that they consider the site a threat and have threatened to attack Poland — a NATO member — possibly even with nuclear weapons.