MOSCOW: Russia issued a veiled threat yesterday to deploy rockets in its Kaliningrad region bordering the European Union if the US built a missile defence shield in central Europe.
Moscow and Washington are locked in a standoff over the US plans for a radar station in the Czech Republic and interceptor rockets in Poland.
Russia says the plans threaten its security.
The threat to put missiles in Kaliningrad was made by the influential First Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Ivanov only two days after President Vladimir Putin again raised the missile shield dispute with US President George W Bush.
Putin has suggested to Bush that the US use a Russian-controlled radar in ex-Soviet Azerbaijan, near the Iranian border, instead of having a shield in central Europe.
Putin has also offered the use of another radar under construction at Armavir in southern Russia.
"If our offers are accepted, Russia will not consider it necessary to deploy new rocket units in the European part of the country, including Kaliningrad, to counter the threat" from the US, Ivanov said.
Ivanov, who was on a visit to Uzbekistan, said Russia had "found an asymmetrical and effective response" to the US project for a European shield.
"We know what we're doing.... If our proposals are not accepted, we will take adequate measures," Ivanov said.
Ivanov stressed Russia's readiness to pool information with the US gained from its radar facilities and said Moscow would be ready to update the radar in Azerbaijan if necessary.
"Today there is no better station for locating rockets, including cruise missiles.... If a question arises about modernising the station, we will do it," he said.