Russia's Foreign Minister Lavrov says Poland no threat, but US missile defense system
Russia's Foreign Minister, Sergei Lavrov visits Poland Sept-11
Lavrov brushed aside a question about an earlier comment from Gen. Anatoly Nogovitsyn, the deputy chief of staff of Russia's armed forces, who said that by deploying the missile defense system Poland "is exposing itself to a strike — 100 percent."
WARSAW, Poland: Russia's foreign minister struck an unusually conciliatory tone during talks in Warsaw on Thursday, but firmly reiterated Moscow's opposition to U.S. plans to place a missile defense base on Polish soil.
The talks between Sergey Lavrov, his Polish counterpart Radek Sikorski and Prime Minister Donald Tusk came less than a month after Warsaw and Washington signed a deal to place 10 interceptor missiles in northern Poland, just 115 miles (180 kilometers) from Russia's westernmost fringe, by 2012.
"We don't see any threat from Poland," Lavrov told reporters after meeting with Sikorski. "But we see a threat to Russian's security as a result of the American strategic system drawing closer to our borders.""The Russian general staff is not bothered by Poland," Lavrov said. "It's bothered by the U.S.
"The Russian general staff is not bothered by Poland," Lavrov said. "It's bothered by the U.S. strategic system."
In an opinion piece published Thursday in the Gazeta Wyborcza daily, Lavrov suggested that Poland had naively been drawn into a dangerous game "perhaps not fully understanding the ramifications of its decision."
In the wake of Russia's five-day war with Georgia, Lavrov warned against awarding Georgia NATO membership, something Poland has also pushed for.
"It is harmful to artificially drag any country into NATO," Lavrov said. "All problems can be resolved without mechanically expanding the bloc, without bringing infrastructure closer to Russia's borders."