Moscow confirms deployment of ( Short range Nukes ) Iskander missiles on NATO borders

Published time: December 16, 2013 18:12                                                                            

Iskander high-precision missile system in place during military exercises. (RIA Novosti/Alexei Danichev)Iskander high-precision missile system in place during military exercises. (RIA Novosti/Alexei Danichev)

The Russian Defense Ministry has confirmed media reports on the deployment of short-range Iskander missiles in the country’s west, near its borders with the Baltic states and NATO members, saying that it does not violate international agreements.

German newspaper Bild wrote this weekend that Russia stationed  several Iskander tactical ballistic missile systems – which are  capable of carrying nuclear warheads – in its westernmost exclave  of Kaliningrad, along the border with Baltic states. The paper  said it obtained “secret satellite” images showing at least 10  Russian missiles close to the EU border, which were deployed over  the past year.

Commenting on the matter, Moscow confirmed that it did station  the missiles, which have been designated by NATO as SS-26 Stone,  in the region.

Rocket and artillery units of the Western Military District  are really armed with Iskander tactical missile systems,”   Maj. Gen. Igor Konashenkov, head of the Defense Ministry’s press  service, told reporters on Monday.

The concrete areas of the deployment of Iskander missile  battalions in the Western Military District do not contradict any  international agreements or treaties,” he added, as quoted  by Interfax.

Lithuanian Defense Minister Juozas Olekas said earlier that he  was concerned over the reports of Russian missiles near his  country’s border. He added that the former Soviet state had  discussed with its neighbors and NATO partners “how to react  and protect” themselves, because “any incidents were  hypothetically possible,” Delfi news website reported on  Monday.

The Voronezh-DM radar station in the Kaliningrad Region. (RIA Novosti / Igor Zarembo) 

The Voronezh-DM radar station in the Kaliningrad Region. (RIA Novosti / Igor Zarembo)

 

Neighboring Latvia sees no threat to its security from the  Iskanders being stationed in the Kaliningrad region, according to  Defense Minister Artis Pabriks. “NATO guarantees to us rather  high security level,” he said in an interview with LNT on  Monday, as quoted by RIA Novosti.

Meanwhile, Poland says it is worried about the deployment of  Russian missiles near its border and plans to hold consultations  on the matter with alliance partners.

Iskanders have been stationed in the region for over 18 months  now, a senior official at Russia’s Defense Ministry told Izvestia  daily.

Everything works as planned there. I don’t know why the  Germans are raising a scare now,” the source noted.

Russia is not going to ease its defense on European borders,  where the western military alliance keeps its strategic missile  forces, said deputy head of the State Duma’s defense committee,  Viktor Zavarzin.

NATO has American tactical nuclear weapons in Europe. Who  can it be aimed against if not Iran? Only against us,” he  told the daily. The official pointed out that Russian missiles do  not pose a threat to anyone. Rather, they are solely for  defensive purposes.

US soldiers stand in front of a Patriot missile battery at an army base in the northern Polish town of Morag. (AFP Photo / Wojtek Radwanski) 

US soldiers stand in front of a Patriot missile battery at an army base in the northern Polish town of Morag. (AFP Photo / Wojtek Radwanski)

 

The deployment of Iskanders in Kaliningrad came in response to  the development of the US missile defense system in Europe –   which has long been a stumbling block in relations between Moscow  and Washington.

Back in November 2011, when the US failed to agree to make the  missile defense shield a joint project with Russia,  then-President Dmitry Medvedev announced sweeping plans to address what Moscow  considered to be a threat to national security. He said he would  deploy strike systems in the west and south of the country, as  well as station Iskander missiles in the Kaliningrad region in  order to counter the risk posed by the European missile defense  shield.

Moscow has long been calling for legally-binding guarantees that  the missile defense system will not be aimed against Russia, but  the US has so far refused to deliver such a promise. For years,  the necessity of building the missile defense shield in Europe  was justified by the perceived threat from countries like Iran.  However, as the controversy over Tehran’s nuclear program seems  to be nearing an end, the US is not altering its intentions.

We realize clearly that the anti-missile defense system is  only called defensive, while in fact it is a significant part of  the strategic offensive potential,” President Vladimir Putin  said in his address to the Federal Assembly last week.

http://rt.com/news/iskander-missile-deployment-russia-317/

 



Categories: Escalation / Destabilization Conflict

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