US blasts Putin's rhetoric


Summary

President Putin recently talked openly of a "new arms race" and warned that Russia would have new targets in Europe if Washington went ahead with plans to place elements of a missile defence system in the Czech Republic and Poland, countries once under Moscow's rule but now members of NATO.

VIDEO: Putin's threat

The White House described Mr Putin's comments as "not helpful."

US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice warned President Putin that Washington and its allies cannot be divided on their mutual defence.

"The security of the United States and the security of European allies is indivisible," Ms Rice said.

"It doesn't really help anybody to start threatening Europeans," she said.

Ms Rice said that US officials "don't consider Russia adversary and I hope they don't consider the United States an adversary."

She noted that Washington and Moscow "are cooperating in whole range of things," including nuclear proliferation, Iran, North Korea and terrorism.

"This is 2007 and not 1987," Ms Rice said.

"This isn't the Soviet Union and we need to drop the rhetoric that sounds like what the United States and the Soviet Union used to say about each other, and realise that the United States and Russia are in a very different period."

Secretary Rice said that US officials "have been very active in talking to the Russian about this, not just explaining, but exploring it.

"We are prepared to do more of that," she said.

Strained relations

The standoff comes as US President George W. Bush prepared to see Mr Putin at a summit of industrialised nations in Germany.

"There has been some escalation in the rhetoric. We think that that is not helpful," US national security adviser Stephen Hadley told reporters.

"We would like to have a constructive dialogue with Russia on this issue. We have had it in the past," he said.

"It does not pose a threat to Russia. Hopefully it is not about a threat from Russia," said Mr Hadley, who added that the two leaders would discuss the issue at the summit in Germany and in a US summit in earlier July.

Bush arrives in Europe

President Bush landed in Prague on Monday evening for the first part of a six-country European tour including a G8 summit in Germany.

The US project to extend its anti-missile shield into Central Europe will be the focus for discussions on Tuesday with Czech head of state President Vaclav Klaus and rightwing Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek.

Mr Bush is also due to address a conference on democracy and security, attended by senior opposition figures from several countries including Russia's Garry Kasparov and Rafael Rubio of Cuba.

He is expected to leave Prague mid-afternoon Tuesday for the German seaside resort of Heiligendamm for the G8 summit from Wednesday.

Several hundred protesters mobilised in the centre of Prague against the controversial US radar project, which would be twinned with an interceptor missile base in neighbouring Poland.


President Putin recently talked openly of a "new arms race" and warned that Russia would have new targets in Europe if Washington went ahead with plans to place elements of a missile defence system in the Czech Republic and Poland, countries once under Moscow's rule but now members of NATO.

VIDEO: Putin's threat

The White House described Mr Putin's comments as "not helpful."

US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice warned President Putin that Washington and its allies cannot be divided on their mutual defence.

"The security of the United States and the security of European allies is indivisible," Ms Rice said.

"It doesn't really help anybody to start threatening Europeans," she said.

Ms Rice said that US officials "don't consider Russia adversary and I hope they don't consider the United States an adversary."

She noted that Washington and Moscow "are cooperating in whole range of things," including nuclear proliferation, Iran, North Korea and terrorism.

"This is 2007 and not 1987," Ms Rice said.

"This isn't the Soviet Union and we need to drop the rhetoric that sounds like what the United States and the Soviet Union used to say about each other, and realise that the United States and Russia are in a very different period."

Secretary Rice said that US officials "have been very active in talking to the Russian about this, not just explaining, but exploring it.

"We are prepared to do more of that," she said.

Strained relations

The standoff comes as US President George W. Bush prepared to see Mr Putin at a summit of industrialised nations in Germany.

"There has been some escalation in the rhetoric. We think that that is not helpful," US national security adviser Stephen Hadley told reporters.

"We would like to have a constructive dialogue with Russia on this issue. We have had it in the past," he said.

"It does not pose a threat to Russia. Hopefully it is not about a threat from Russia," said Mr Hadley, who added that the two leaders would discuss the issue at the summit in Germany and in a US summit in earlier July.

Bush arrives in Europe

President Bush landed in Prague on Monday evening for the first part of a six-country European tour including a G8 summit in Germany.

The US project to extend its anti-missile shield into Central Europe will be the focus for discussions on Tuesday with Czech head of state President Vaclav Klaus and rightwing Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek.

Mr Bush is also due to address a conference on democracy and security, attended by senior opposition figures from several countries including Russia's Garry Kasparov and Rafael Rubio of Cuba.

He is expected to leave Prague mid-afternoon Tuesday for the German seaside resort of Heiligendamm for the G8 summit from Wednesday.

Several hundred protesters mobilised in the centre of Prague against the controversial US radar project, which would be twinned with an interceptor missile base in neighbouring Poland.