Get the latest updates as we post them — right on your browser

. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Schröder Criticizes U.S. Missile Plan

APSchroder joking with a woman while visiting a bookstore to promote the Russian edition of his book on Saturday.
U.S. plans to deploy parts of a missile defense shield in Poland and the Czech Republic are "politically dangerous," former German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder said while promoting a book in Moscow on Saturday.

"From my point of view, the missile defense system is politically dangerous. It is perceived as an attempt to isolate Russia, which is not in Europe's political interests," said Schröder, a personal friend of President Vladimir Putin.

"It is Germany's responsibility ... to persuade the United States to abandon these plans," he said at a roundtable discussion with political analysts and journalists. Schröder was promoting the Russian edition of his book "Decisions -- My Life in Politics," which lavishes praise on Putin's policies.

The United States wants to base interceptor missiles and a radar system in Poland and the Czech Republic, saying it needs protection against possible missile attacks from Iran and North Korea.

Russia says the plan will upset a delicate strategic balance between major powers and poses a threat to its own security. Schröder said the plan was not in the European Union's interests either.

"It is presented as though the plans are the business of the countries involved and the Americans. But they concern Europe as a whole," Schröder said, adding that the EU should brush aside "narrow-minded nationalistic interests."

Schröder, who now chairs a German-Russian consortium building a major gas pipeline under the Baltic Sea, is one of only a few Western politicians to publicly side with Russia on many political issues.

Schröder was tight-lipped when asked about who might succeed Putin next year. He appeared at the book presentation ceremony with First Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, who wrote an introduction to the book's Russian edition and is seen as a candidate to succeed Putin.