Russian Deputy Defense Minister Vladimir Popovkin announced Saturday morning that Russia will no longer position Iskander short-range missiles in the Kaliningrad region of the country as a result of President Barack Obama’s decision to eliminate the Eastern European missile-defense plan instated by George W. Bush. Obama dropped the plan, which included deploying 10 missile interceptors in Poland and a radar system in the Czech Republic, as a result of a recent U.S. intelligence report revealing that Iran’s nuclear long-range missile will take three to five years longer to build than expected. Popovkin summed up Obama’s decision by saying, “Reason has prevailed over ambitions…Naturally we will cancel countermeasures which Russia has planned in response.” Russian President Dmitry Medvedev supports Obama’s decision, and the two presidents will meet at the U.N. next week. Whether this new development means that Russia is closer to helping the U.S. bully Tehran in regard to its nuclear program, however, is unclear.
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