Russia will deploy missiles near NATO member Poland in response to U.S. missile defense plans, President Dmitry Medvedev said Wednesday in his first state of the nation speech.
Medvedev also singled out the United States for criticism, casting Russia's war with Georgia in August and the global financial turmoil as consequences of aggressive, selfish U.S. policies.
He said he hoped the next U.S. administration would act to improve relations. In a separate telegram, he congratulated Barack Obama on his election victory and said he was hoping for "constructive dialogue" with the incoming U.S. president.
Medvedev also proposed increasing the Russian presidential term to six years from the current four, a major constitutional change that would further increase the power of the head of state and could deepen Western concern over democracy in Russia.
The president said the Iskander missiles will be deployed to Russia's Kaliningrad region, which lies between Poland and the ex-Soviet republic of Lithuania on the Baltic Sea, but did not say how many would be used. Equipment to electronically hamper the operation of prospective U.S. missile defense facilities in Poland and the Czech Republic will be deployed, he said.
He did not say whether the short-range Iskander missiles would be fitted with nuclear warheads and it was not clear exactly when the missiles would be deployed.
Russia will certainly be a challenge for President Obama. My wife thinks that Putin is salivating. I have some commentary on the election for later.