Obama: Russian pressure not an issue in missile decision

2009-09-21 09:12 BJT

Watch Video

Play Video

US President Barack Obama has dismissed criticism that Russian opposition influenced his decision to scrap a proposed missile defense system in Eastern Europe that was conceived during the Bush era.

On Thursday, after Obama announced that the US will not go ahead with the controversial missile shield, in Poland and the Czech Republic,administration critics charged that the move was an unnecessary concession to Russia.

President Obama firmly rejected suggestions that his decision was a climb-down in the face of pressure from the Kremlin, which has consistently maintained that the proposed shield would pose a threat to Russia's national security.

Obama's decision raised questions as to whether or not it was made in part to appease Russia in return for its help in dealing with the Iranian nuclear issue. But Obama said he did not seek anything in exchange.

Barack Obama, US Presidentsaid, "So my task here was not to negotiate with the Russians. The Russians don't make determinations about what our defense posture is. We have made a decision about what will best to protect the American people as well as our troops in Europe."

Although the proposed system would have deployed a mere 10 interceptor missiles, Russia nevertheless condemned it as a threat to its security.