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Rice: Russia's threats to Ukraine "unacceptable"
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09:01, February 14, 2008

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U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said on Wednesday Russia's veiled threats to neighboring Ukraine are "reprehensible" and "unacceptable."

Speaking to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Rice said the "reprehensible rhetoric that's coming out of Moscow is unacceptable," citing Russian President Vladimir Putin's remarks on Tuesday that Russia could be forced to redirect its missiles towards Ukraine if Kiev pursued plans to host NATO missile-defense facilities.

Russia's rhetoric "is not helpful to a relationship that has some positive aspects," referring to U.S.-Russian cooperation on Iran and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea as well as Middle East peace.

Speaking after talks with Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenkoat the Kremlin, Putin told reporters that "I am not only terrified to utter this, it is scary even to think that Russia, in response to a possible deployment of (elements of the planned U.S.) ... missile shield in Ukraine... would have to target its offensive rocket systems at Ukraine."

The United States plans to base missile interceptors in Poland and radar units in the Czech Republic as part of a project to extend the missile defense system to Europe.

Russia strongly opposes the plan, saying it poses a threat to its security. The United States says the system is aimed at states and groups in the Middle East that are seeking weapons of mass destruction, not against Russia.

Source: Xinhua

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