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Putin Praises U.S. Missile Shield Decision, Urges Removal of Trade Barriers

SOCHI, Russia — Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has praised U.S. President Barack Obama's decision to scrap plans for a missile defense system in Europe and urged the United States to cancel restrictions on trade with Russia.

Putin hailed Obama's move as "right and brave" and said it has raised hope that the U.S. administration also will move to cancel all existing restrictions on trade with Russia.

In his speech at an investment forum in Sochi on Friday, Putin said Moscow also expects the United States to give the go-ahead to World Trade Organization membership for Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan.

Russia has spent years trying to get the United States to scrap a handful of restrictive laws on bilateral trade, including a Cold War-era amendment that has been a key irritant in relations between Moscow and Washington.

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