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Russian military chief visits US


Moscow: Russia's military chief, Gen. Nikolai Makarov, Tuesday began a three-day official visit to the US to discuss the American missile defence plans, the Russian defence ministry said.

Makarov, chief of the Russian armed forces general staff, will hold talks with US Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, a ministry spokesman said.

"The talks will focus on the discussion of the US missile defence plans," he added.

Russian Defence Minister Anatoly Serdyukov said Makarov would "make yet another attempt to explain (Russia's) stance on missile defence at least at a chief of staff level".

He warned that Russia would not ignore the deployment of the elements of the US missile defence in Europe and would respond adequately to any threats to its security.

Russia has retained staunch opposition to the planned deployment of US missile defence systems near its borders, claiming they would be a security threat.

NATO and the US insist that the shield would defend NATO members against missiles from North Korea and Iran and would not be directed at Russia.

Moscow insists it should receive legal guarantees from Washington that its European missile defense shield will not target Russia's strategic nuclear forces.

The agenda of the talks between Makarov and his US counterpart will also include the discussion of bilateral military cooperation, and joint assessment of regional and global security.


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