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Why US-Poland missile deal rouses Russian bear

US officials say the system is merely a protection against rogue states like Iran.

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Russia's strident objections to the deal between the United States and Poland on a missile defense system are largely unfounded.

That's the view of American officials and analysts, who say Moscow's aim in the controversy is to divide NATO and drive a wedge between the US and its allies.

Moscow reacted angrily over the weekend to the agreement between the US and Poland to put a missile defense system comprised of 10 interceptors in Poland. American officials have long maintained that the system will protect Israel and US bases in the Middle East against a rogue nuclear missile strike from the likes of Iran, and does not pose a threat to Russian security. Russia sees the site as a threat and fears greater intrusion into its traditional sphere of influence.

But analysts in Washington widely believe Russia is using controversy over the agreement within Europe and NATO to further divide the US and its allies.

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