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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

New Radar Proposal Seen Going Nowhere

President Vladimir Putin's latest proposal to expand U.S.-Russia cooperation on a missile defense shield is unlikely to go anywhere, defense analysts said Tuesday.

Putin suggested Monday at a meeting with U.S. President George W. Bush in Kennebunkport, Maine, that the two countries share a radar station currently under construction in southern Russia.

The radar would be more sophisticated than the Soviet-built Gabala facility in Azerbaijan, which Putin offered to share with the United States last month.

Putin also proposed putting the missile defense shield under the auspices of the NATO-Russia Council and setting up early warning centers in Moscow and a European city, such as Brussels.

Bush reacted favorably to Putin's proposal, but did not back down on a key part of the U.S. plan: a pair of anti-missile facilities in Poland and the Czech Republic, which have aroused fierce objections from Russia.

"I think it's very sincere. I think it's innovative. I think it's strategic," Bush said of Putin's proposal, according to a transcript on the White House web site. "But as I told Vladimir, I think that the Czech Republic and Poland need to be an integral part of the system." Discussions about the plan will continue, Bush said.

Putin told reporters that implementing his proposal would raise U.S.-Russian relations "to an entirely new level" and added: "The deck has been dealt, and we are here to play. And I would very much hope that we are playing one and the same game."

Russian officials have charged that Washington's goal is to undermine Russia's nuclear deterrent, while the United States insists the shield is meant to protect against "rogue states" such as Iran.

"With this, the Russian side has fully brushed away the arguments of the Americans, who say that [the shield] is not directed against Russia," Alexander Golts, a defense analyst, said of Putin's latest proposal.

There is no technical reason why the new radar site, located near the city of Armavir in the Krasnodar region, cannot replace the facilities that Washington wants to build in Central Europe, said Ivan Safranchuk, head of the Moscow office of the Washington-based Center for Defense Information.

Safranchuk said he feared Putin's proposal would do little to help U.S.-Russia relations. "Relations are getting worse," he said. "One side is offering some sort of compromise. That's good, of course. What's bad is that the compromise won't be accepted."

Alexei Malashenko, an analyst at the Carnegie Moscow Center, said it was good that Washington and Moscow were playing "ping-pong" with different proposals. "After all, this is better than some sort of frontal attacks and constant discussions about how the Cold War is back," he said. "It's better than nothing."

In a separate development, an official in the Azeri Foreign Ministry said Tuesday that the Gabala proposal might be discussed at upcoming talks in Washington, Interfax reported.

n The United States and Russia will reduce their stockpiles of long-range nuclear weapons "to the lowest possible" level, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said Tuesday in Washington.