Russia Is Fielding Nuclear-Capable Missiles in Territory Bordering NATO

Global Security Newswire Staff
See more stories about...
Global Security Newswire Staff
Dec. 17, 2013, 6:02 a.m.

Rus­sia on Monday re­vealed it had sent bal­list­ic mis­siles to ter­rit­ory that bor­ders sev­er­al NATO na­tions, all of which have voiced alarm over the de­ploy­ment.

Nuc­le­ar-cap­able Iskander mis­siles are be­ing fielded in the Ka­lin­in­grad re­gion — a Rus­si­an ex­clave that bor­ders NATO mem­ber states Po­land and Lithuania, the Rus­si­an De­fense Min­istry dis­closed. The non­stra­tegic mis­siles have top ranges of between 250 and 310 miles, ac­cord­ing to vari­ous me­dia re­ports.

It is not presently known if the mis­siles fielded in the Ka­lin­in­grad are equipped with nuc­le­ar or con­ven­tion­al war­heads. It is also not clear how long they have been de­ployed or what caused Mo­scow to dis­cuss their field­ing, the New York Times re­por­ted

“Iskander rock­et com­plexes are in­deed stand­ing armed with the rock­et and ar­til­lery di­vi­sions in the West­ern Mil­it­ary Dis­trict,” a re­gion that en­com­passes Ka­lin­in­grad, min­istry spokes­man Ig­or Konashen­kov said.

An an­onym­ous high-rank­ing Rus­si­an army of­fi­cial told Izves­tia the mis­siles had been fielded in the area for more than a year.

Mo­scow has warned for a while that it could de­ploy Iskander mis­siles to the Ka­lin­in­grad re­gion in re­sponse to NATO’s on­go­ing ef­forts to con­struct an al­li­ance-wide bal­list­ic mis­sile shield.

Rus­sia has par­tic­u­larly op­posed a U.S. ini­ti­at­ive to field by about 2018 next-gen­er­a­tion mis­sile in­ter­cept­ors in Po­land. Wash­ing­ton main­tains that the in­ter­cept­ors will be fo­cused on coun­ter­ing po­ten­tial me­di­um-range mis­sile as­saults from Ir­an. Rus­sia has called for — to no avail thus far — leg­ally bind­ing as­sur­ances that the U.S. in­ter­cept­ors will nev­er be aimed against its own stra­tegic mis­siles.

U.S. De­fense Sec­ret­ary Chuck Hagel in a Monday video-con­fer­ence with his Rus­si­an op­pos­ite, Sergei Shoigu, said that Wash­ing­ton and NATO would con­tin­ue to de­vel­op the mis­sile shield re­gard­less of re­cent head­way made in resolv­ing long­stand­ing in­ter­na­tion­al con­cerns about Ir­an’s nuc­le­ar cap­ab­il­it­ies, the Xin­hua News Agency re­por­ted.

The Pol­ish De­fense Min­istry said the Iskander de­ploy­ment was “dis­turb­ing” and could lead to “con­sulta­tions and ac­tion … at the NATO and EU level,” Agence France-Presse re­por­ted. Fel­low NATO coun­tries Es­to­nia, Latvia, Lithuania and the United States also have voiced wor­ries about the mis­siles.

“We’ve shared with Rus­sia the con­cerns that coun­tries in the neigh­bor­hood have” re­gard­ing the Iskander de­ploy­ment, U.S. State De­part­ment spokes­wo­man Mar­ie Harf was quoted by the Wall Street Journ­al as say­ing. “We’ve urged Mo­scow to take no steps to destabil­ize the re­gion.”

Latvi­an De­fense Min­is­ter Artis Pab­riks said the mis­siles do “not change the bal­ance of power between NATO and Rus­sia, but it changes bal­ance of power in the re­gion. It threatens sev­er­al Balt­ic cit­ies,” he con­tin­ued in re­marks re­por­ted by AFP.

This art­icle was pub­lished in Glob­al Se­cur­ity News­wire, which is pro­duced in­de­pend­ently by Na­tion­al Journ­al Group un­der con­tract with the Nuc­le­ar Threat Ini­ti­at­ive. NTI is a non­profit, non­par­tis­an group work­ing to re­duce glob­al threats from nuc­le­ar, bio­lo­gic­al, and chem­ic­al weapons.

MOST READ
What We're Following See More »
1.5 MILLION MORE TUNED IN FOR TRUMP
More People Watched Trump’s Acceptance Speech
14 hours ago
THE DETAILS

Hillary Clinton hopes that television ratings for the candidates' acceptance speeches at their respective conventions aren't foreshadowing of similar results at the polls in November. Preliminary results from the networks and cable channels show that 34.9 million people tuned in for Donald Trump's acceptance speech while 33.3 million watched Clinton accept the Democratic nomination. However, it is still possible that the numbers are closer than these ratings suggest: the numbers don't include ratings from PBS or CSPAN, which tend to attract more Democratic viewers.

Source:
×