Putin Says Romney Would Turn U.S. Missile Shield Against Russia

President Vladimir Putin said the U.S. will “definitely” direct its missile defense system against Russia if Republican challenger Mitt Romney defeats President Barack Obama in November.

“Our American partners keep telling us, ‘This is not directed against you,’” Putin said in an interview broadcast on RT television today. “But what happens if Mr. Romney, who believes us to be America’s number one foe, is elected as president of the United States? In that case, the missile defense system will definitely be directed against Russia as it is technologically configured exactly for this purpose.”

Romney called Russia the “No. 1 geopolitical foe” of the U.S. during the campaign and last month criticized Obama for being too accommodating, saying he’d show Putin “less flexibility and more backbone.”

“Such behavior on the international arena is the same as using nationalism and segregation as tools of U.S. domestic policy,” Putin said. “Its effect on the international arena is the same, when a politician, a person who aspires to lead a nation, especially a great country like the U.S., declares someone to be an enemy a priori.”

Still, Putin said Russia will work with whomever wins the election, “but our effort will only be as efficient as our partners will want it to be.”

To contact the reporter on this story: Stepan Kravchenko in Moscow at skravchenko@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Balazs Penz at bpenz@bloomberg.net

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