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Donilon to Visit Russia in April for Missile-Defense Discussions

U.S. National Security Adviser Thomas Donilon will visit Moscow next month to discuss issues including missile defenses, said Yuri Ushakov, President Vladimir Putin’s foreign-policy aide.

Donilon will meet his Russian counterpart, Nikolai Patrushev, and Ushakov on April 15 and has also asked for a meeting with Putin, the Kremlin adviser told reporters today in Moscow.

“We still have concerns and we need to discuss the details,” Ushakov said of the Obama administration’s decision to slow work on missile defenses in eastern Europe by deploying resources elsewhere.

U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said on March 15 that the Pentagon will add 14 land-based missile interceptors in Alaska in response to threats from North Korea. To pay for that move and develop an advanced warhead, he said about $1 billion would be shifted from efforts to develop a missile shield in Poland and Romania.

In response, Russia called on the U.S. on March 18 to issue “reliable, legally binding” guarantees that it isn’t targeted by plans to expand missile defenses. That reaction dashed the hopes of arms-control advocates that the decision to scale back the missile-defense plans could pave the way to improved U.S.- Russian relations and revive talks on reducing both countries’ nuclear arsenals.

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