15 Aug 2008

Poland agrees to station US missiles

8:31 am on 15 August 2008

A decision by Poland over hosting part of a US missile shield looks set to create fresh tension between Washington and Moscow.

US Defence Secretary Robert Gates warned on Thursday that the situation in Georgia threatened to do long-term harm to US-Russian relations.

Now it's been announced that Poland has agreed to the stationing of parts of a proposed American missile defence shield on Polish soil.

A preliminary deal was signed in Warsaw on Thursday. It still needs to be endorsed by the Polish parliament.

If everything goes to schedule, the base would be ready by around 2012. The Czechs have already signed an agreement to host the radar although parliament is still to ratify it.

The BBC reports Russia strongly opposes the plan. Russia says the shield installations in central Europe would threaten its security and upset the post-Cold War balance of power in Europe.

Moscow has threatened to take retaliatory steps against Poland and the Czech Republic, who are now part of the European Union and NATO.