Russia held out an olive branch to President Barack Obama today by suspending plans to deploy missiles in Europe, according to a report in Moscow.
An official from Russia's General Staff in Moscow told Interfax news that the move had been made because the new United States leadership was reconsidering plans to establish a missile defence shield in eastern Europe.
Deployment of Iskander short-range missiles, which can carry nuclear warheads, was being suspended in Russia's Baltic exclave of Kaliningrad in response, the unidentified official said.
The news emerged ahead of Prime Minister Vladimir Putin's appearance later today at the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.
Mr Putin said on Monday that he was "cautiously optimistic" about the potential for improved relations with the US because the Obama Administration had shown a willingness to reconsider the missile shield.
The former Bush administration ignored Russian objections to its plan to install 10 interceptor missiles in Poland and a radar station in the Czech Republic.
It said that the shield was to counter threats from rogue states such as Iran and was not directed against Moscow. The US signed agreements with the Czech and Polish governments last year to permit deployment of the shield.
Russia insisted, however, that the system posed a threat to its own security and repeatedly warned that it would take counter measures unless the US backed down.