Russia proposes to axe some weapons .hurriyet2008-detailbox-newslink { font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size:13px; font-weight:bold; text-decoration:none; color:#000000;} .hurriyet2008-detailbox-newslink:hover { font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size:13px; font-weight:bold; text-decoration:underline; color:#990000;} MOSCOW - Russia will stop developing some strategic weapons if the United States drops plans for a missile shield in Europe, Interfax news agency quoted the commander of Russia's strategic missile forces as saying on Friday.

The remarks may be another step in Moscow's efforts to build ties with the incoming U.S. administration but also reflect difficulties Russia faces in financing its ambitious military programs at a time of global economic crisis.

"If Americans give up plans to deploy the third positioning region and other elements of the strategic missile defense system then certainly we will adequately respond to it," Colonel-General Nikolai Solovtsov said. "We will simply not need a number of expensive programs," he added echoing earlier Kremlin overtures to the new U.S. administration.

U.S. plans to deploy in Europe elements of its projected missile shield, intended to avert potential strikes from Iran and North Korea, have been a factor in the deterioration of bilateral ties to the lowest point since the Cold War.

Russia says that U.S. plans to deploy interceptor missiles in Poland and a radar in the Czech Republic, described as the "third positioning region" are targeted against it.

President Dmitry Medvedev has said Russia will deploy Iskander missiles in its Kaliningrad enclave bordering NATO members Poland and Lithuania.

Medvedev and his predecessor Vladimir Putin, now prime minister, have also said Russia was designing new weapons, including strategic rockets, capable of breaking through any missile defence in the next 30-50 years.

Confidence building measures
However Medvedev said last month he hoped U.S President-elect Barack Obama will review missile defense plans and vowed that Russia will not be the first with missile deployments.

Medvedev has made clear Russia may agree to something less than a full U-turn by Washington on the missile shield if the United States came out with solid confidence-building measures.

"Such measures cannot compensate a possible imbalance of forces, but they can ease tensions," Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov, who oversees arms talks, told Interfax.