Medvedev delivers chilling words on missile plans

The Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said that his country would place missiles in the Baltic region of Kaliningrad in response to US missile defence plans.

In a move that will reawaken Cold War memories, Mr Medvedev, making his first state of the union address only hours after the victory of Barack Obama, used tough rhetoric, attacking the United States for its role in the war in Georgia, the financial crisis and accusing it of moving aggressively against Russia.

"We have got the clear impression that they are testing our strength," Medvedev said in an 85-minute speech to parliament that was interrupted more than 50 times by applause.

The short-range Iskander missile would be deployed in the enclave, between two EU states, Lithuania and Poland, after Russia's warnings that the US plans for a defence system in Poland and the Czech Republic were a threat to Russia's security. Russia would also station equipment that would electronically hamper the proposed defence systems.

Moscow has previously accused Washington of betraying promises made by the President George Bush Snr not to expand Nato. Mr Medvedev called it a "relentless expansion". Russia-US relations have not been good as a financially resurgent Russia reasserted itself, but ties reached a new low after the Russia-Georgia war when Russia invaded Georgia after its southern neighbour attacked its rebel republic South Ossetia, killing Russian peacekeepers and hundreds of civilians.

Mr Medvedev said the war "was, among other things, the result of the arrogant course of the American administration, which did not tolerate criticism and preferred unilateral decisions". The Russian President also laid much of the blame for the world financial crisis on the US. Russia's stock market has fallen more than 70 per cent and oligarchs have lost $230bn (£140bn), Bloomberg reported.

The Russian President went on: "There is a need to create mechanisms to block those decisions made by some members of the world community that are wrong and sometimes just dangerous." This was a clear reference to the United States.

Mr Medvedev also proposed extending the Russian presidential term to six years and parliamentary term to five years, moves he said would help implement reform. Instead, they will probably raise more doubts in the West about the President's commitment to democracy and whether he is smoothing the way for the Prime Minister, Vladimir Putin, to return to power.

Mr Putin, who led Russia during a record period of economic growth and ebbing civil liberties, has remained a commanding figure since he left office. He has far more powers than any prime minister before him and many believe Mr Medvedev is a stop-gap figure.

Despite the rhetoric, Mr Medvedev said Russia was not anti-American and he hoped the new administration could help improve ties. "I would like to stress: we have no problems with the American people," the President said. "We have no innate anti-Americanism."

Russia is facing mounting economic problems. With the rouble under pressure and the price of oil sinking, Russia's huge reserves saved under the oil boom are starting to shrink and Russians are becoming more nervous about the economic future.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Practice Accountant - Bournemouth - £38,000

£32000 - £38000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A successful accountancy practice in...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Uncapped commission: SThree: Does earning a 6 figu...

Recruitment Genius: SEO Executive

£18000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: New Lift Sales Executive - Lift and Elevators

£35000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A challenging opportunity for a...

Day In a Page

The saffron censorship that governs India: Why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression

The saffron censorship that governs India

Zareer Masani reveals why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression
Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Supreme Court rules Dominic Grieve's ministerial veto was invalid
Distressed Zayn Malik fans are cutting themselves - how did fandom get so dark?

How did fandom get so dark?

Grief over Zayn Malik's exit from One Direction seemed amusing until stories of mass 'cutting' emerged. Experts tell Gillian Orr the distress is real, and the girls need support
The galaxy collisions that shed light on unseen parallel Universe

The cosmic collisions that have shed light on unseen parallel Universe

Dark matter study gives scientists insight into mystery of space
The Swedes are adding a gender-neutral pronoun to their dictionary

Swedes introduce gender-neutral pronoun

Why, asks Simon Usborne, must English still struggle awkwardly with the likes of 's/he' and 'they'?
Disney's mega money-making formula: 'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan

Disney's mega money-making formula

'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan
Lobster has gone mainstream with supermarket bargains for £10 or less - but is it any good?

Lobster has gone mainstream

Anthea Gerrie, raised on meaty specimens from the waters around Maine, reveals how to cook up an affordable feast
Easter 2015: 14 best decorations

14 best Easter decorations

Get into the Easter spirit with our pick of accessories, ornaments and tableware
Paul Scholes column: Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season

Paul Scholes column

Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season
Inside the Kansas greenhouses where Monsanto is 'playing God' with the future of the planet

The future of GM

The greenhouses where Monsanto 'plays God' with the future of the planet
Britain's mild winters could be numbered: why global warming is leaving UK chillier

Britain's mild winters could be numbered

Gulf Stream is slowing down faster than ever, scientists say
Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Donation brings total raised by Homeless Veterans campaign to at least £1.25m
Oh dear, the most borrowed book at Bank of England library doesn't inspire confidence

The most borrowed book at Bank of England library? Oh dear

The book's fifth edition is used for Edexcel exams
Cowslips vs honeysuckle: The hunt for the UK’s favourite wildflower

Cowslips vs honeysuckle

It's the hunt for UK’s favourite wildflower
Child abuse scandal: Did a botched blackmail attempt by South African intelligence help Cyril Smith escape justice?

Did a botched blackmail attempt help Cyril Smith escape justice?

A fresh twist reveals the Liberal MP was targeted by the notorious South African intelligence agency Boss