Putin compares US missile shield to Cuban crisis

A01177149.jpgIt was a summit between Russia and the EU.However comments about American defence policy dominated headlines, with Vladimir Putin comparing US plans for a missile shield in Europe to the Cuban missile crisis of 1962.“Similar actions by the Soviet Union, when it deployed missiles in Cuba, provoked the Caribbean crisis,” he told a news conference after talks in Portugal.

“For us, technologically, the situation is very similar. We have moved our last bases from Cuba and Vietnam and totally left these places while the same threats are being created close to the borders of our country.”

While Moscow sees the proposed shield as a threat to its security, the Russian president stressed relations had moved on since the Cold War, emphasing his personal friendship with George W. Bush.

US State Department spokesman Sean McCormack rejected any parallel

“I don’t think anybody would seriously compare the kinds of missiles that they had deployed in Cuba during the 1960s with the kind of interceptors – defensive missiles – that we are planning for the European theatre,” he said.

Amid high tension in 1962, the Soviet Union finally agreed to remove its missiles from Cuba after guarantees that the US would not invade the communist island.

The episode is widely seen as the closest the world has ever come to nuclear war.

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