Putin spurns US European missile compromise, rejects tough stance on Iran
At the Russian-EU summit in Portugal Friday, Oct. 26, the Russian president Vladimir Putin likened the US proposal to build a missile defense shield in Eastern Europe to the Cuban missile crisis of the 1960s. “Such a threat is being set up on our borders,” he said, but admitted tension was much lower now than then and the US was listening to Moscow’s concerns.
On arrival in Portugal, Putin compared the supporters of tough policies against Iran to “mad people wielding razor blades.” On Kosovo’s future, he questioned the wisdom of “encouraging separatism in Europe.”
Earlier, US defense secretary Robert Gates said the US has done as much as it can “to appease Russia” on its missile plans. “We’ve leaned about as far forward as we can.” This week, the defense secretary offered to open the proposed sites in Poland and the Czech Republic to Russian observers and delay switching on the interceptors until the Washington and Moscow agreed on proof of a threat from Iran.
“We are not satisfied with any of their proposals,” Russian defense minister Anatoly Serdyukov commented Thursday.
Regarding his future, Putin said he would not assume presidential powers if he became prime minister after finishing his term in the spring. “There will be no infringement on the powers of the president of the Russian Federation, at least while it depends on me,” he declared.