Sen. John McCain has called the Obama administration's cancellation of a planned missile shield in Eastern Europe a "victory" for Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin.
The missile defense system would have placed radar units in the Czech Republic and interceptors in Poland to protect against a potential nuclear threat from Iran, but Putin alleged that the plan was a "regional power grab by the U.S.," according to The Hill newspaper.
The administration's "decision calls into question the security and diplomatic commitments the United States has made to Poland and the Czech Republic and has the potential to undermine the perceived American leadership in Eastern Europe," McCain said in a statement.
"Given the serious and growing threats posed by Iran's missile and nuclear programs, now is the time when we should look to strengthen our defenses, and those of our allies."
A Pentagon spokesperson on Thursday denied that the cancellation of the missile shield plan had "anything to do with Russia."
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