Russian President Vladimir Putin says the critical stance of US Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney on Russia justifies Moscow's firm opposition to a planned American missile system in Europe. “He [Romney] has once again confirmed the rectitude of our [Russian] approach to the issue of missile defense…He enhanced our negotiating positions on this sensitive and important issue,” RIA Novosti news agency quoted Putin as saying on Tuesday. Putin added that the former governor of Massachusetts considers Russia an enemy “is a minus,” but he is grateful to Romney for his “frankness.” “I am grateful that he forms his position so freely,” the Russian president said. Putin highlighted that he is ready to work with Romney in case the latter wins this year’s presidential election. On August 30, Romney called Russia the “number one geopolitical foe” of the United States.
“Under my administration, our friends will see more loyalty, and Mr. Putin will see a little less flexibility and more backbone,” he stated in an address to the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Florida.Negotiations between Russia and the United States on the missile project are deadlocked over Washington's reluctance to give Moscow categorical assurances that the missile system will not be used against it. Russia says the project could pose a threat to its national security and has threatened a host of countermeasures. In May, the Russian General Staff said it did not rule out a pre-emptive strike against the US missile system in the event of an "aggravation of the situation." MP/JR