Putin renews criticism of US missile defense

Days before he is to join the Group of Eight gathering of the world's industrialized powers in Germany, Russian President Vladimir Putin again criticized US plans to install a missile defense system in Eastern Europe, the German news magazine Der Spiegel reported Saturday. America's missile shield plans would "increase the possibility of unleashing a nuclear conflict" Putin said according to an advance copy of a Spiegel interview that was to be published on Monday. "They want to create a protective barrier against something that does not exist," Putin said, adding that the US was "forcing a reaction" from Moscow.