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PRAGUE – Czechs and Poles expressed rancor and relief Thursday that President Barack Obama had scrapped plans for a U.S. missile defense shield on their territories, reflecting deep divisions over a proposal that had also enraged Russia.
Ex-leaders in the Czech Republic and Poland bristled at Obama's reversal, saying it reinforced a growing impression that Washington no longer views the region as indispensable to U.S. and European security interests. Yet many ordinary citizens who had been skeptical of the shield's benefits expressed relief that the system wouldn't be built on their soil.