Russia's air force would be capable of easily knocking out missile defense sites the United States wants to place in Europe, news agencies quoted a top general as saying Monday in the latest bellicose remarks in response to the US plans. Lt. -Gen. Igor Khvorov, who is in charge of Russia's strategic bomber force, said the installations the United States plans to deploy in Poland and the Czech Republic will be an easy target for his aircraft, Interfax and RIA-Novosti news agencies reported. "Since missile defense elements are weakly protected, all types of our aircraft are capable of applying electronic countermeasures against them or physically destroying them," Khvorov was quoted as saying. The statement follows a stream of other comments from Russian government leaders and military officials who have harshly criticized the US plans. The head of Russia's missile forces said last month that his forces would be capable of targeting the putative facilities if the country's leadership decided to do so. The United States has said the planned defenses would not be aimed at Russia, and were intended to defend against missile attacks from countries such as Iran. President Vladimir Putin has said, however, that he does not trust the American claims and warned that Russia would take countermeasures.