HEILIGENDAMM, Germany – President Bush on Wednesday discounted Vladimir Putin's threat to re-target missiles on Europe, saying "Russia is not going to attack Europe."
Bush, in an interview with the Associated Press and other reporters, said that no U.S. military response was required after Putin warned that Russia would take steps in response to a U.S. missile shield that would be deployed in Poland and the Czech Republic.
"Russia is not an enemy," Bush said, sitting in a sun-drenched garden. "There needs to be no military response because we're not at war with Russia. Russia is not a threat."
Bush and Putin will meet Wednesday at the opening of the summit of industrialized nations. Asked if he anticipated a tense encounter, Bush replied "Could be. I don't think so ... I'll work to see that it's not a tense meeting."
Bush talked with reporters for nearly an hour, touching on subjects from global warming to Iran, the suffering in Darfur to the war in Iraq. The president said he would like to see other countries follow the United States in taking steps against the government of Sudan to stop the misery in Darfur.
"I'm frustrated because there are still people suffering and the U.N. process is moving at a snail's pace," Bush said.