President Obama cancelled the planned missile shield that we had promised Poland and Czechoslovakia, capitulating to the demands of Vladimir Putin. See Dismay in Europe as Obama ditches missile defence – Times Online .
The decision was relayed to the governments of the Czech Republic and Poland both by Mr Obama himself, in telephone calls last night, and by US officials visiting the region. The President assured both governments that the decision would not compromise their security.
But it clearly prompted some dismay in Central and Eastern Europe, where the Bush plan had been seen as an effective guarantor of US support for the fledgling democracies of the old Soviet empire. It will also send a chill through Russia’s neighbours.
“This is not good news for the Czech state, for Czech freedom and independence,” said Mirek Topolanek, the former Czech Prime Minister. “It puts us in a position where we are not firmly anchored in terms of partnership, security and alliance, and that’s a certain threat.”
Russia’s Foreign Ministry said that it welcomed reports of the US decision but would wait for official confirmation before making a detailed response. A spokesman said: “Such a development would be in line with the interests of our relations with the United States.”
Ironically, the President made his announcement on the 70th anniversary of the Russian invasion of Poland.