In a significant effort to repair the strained relationship between them and the United States, the Russian government has announced that it will abandon its threatened deployment of Iskander missiles to the exclave of Kaliningrad.
Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin called on President Obama to “co-operate constructively” in international affairs, saying his government was opposed to spending more money on military efforts. The move could be an indication of a significant trend of rapprochement after the two sides have clashed bitterly over the Bush Administration’s planned missile defense system in Eastern Europe and the Russian war against Georgia. President Obama has been somewhat non-committal about continuing the missile defense.
NATO welcomed the move, albeit somewhat backhandedly. Spokeswoman Carmen Romero declared the previous announcement to deploy the missiles “unwelcome” and said withdrawing it would be “a good step.” Czech Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg likewise said he was glad Putin had recognized that the deployment was harming it.