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MOSCOW, December 16 (RIA Novosti) – Russia confirmed Monday that it has deployed tactical ballistic missiles near its borders with NATO but said the move did not violate international agreements.
Bild newspaper in Germany reported over the weekend that Russia had “quietly” moved 10 Iskander-M (SS-26 Stone) missile systems into its Baltic exclave of Kaliningrad and along its border with the Baltic States and NATO members Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.
The deployment marks the realization of threats from Moscow to respond with a firm gesture to NATO plans to place elements of the so-called European missile shield close to Russian borders.
“The deployment of Iskander missile battalions on the territory of the Western Military District does not violate any respective international agreements,” ministry spokesman Maj. Gen. Igor Konashenkov said.
Konashenkov declined to provide details on the number of deployed missiles or their specific locations.
The Iskander-M is a mobile theater missile system equipped with two solid-propellant single-stage 9M723K1 guided missiles with "quasi-ballistic" capability.
With its reported effective range of 400 kilometers (250 miles), the Iskander does not fall into the category of intermediate-range nuclear missiles banned by the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty between Russia and the United States.
The missiles deployed in Kaliningrad could hit NATO targets located in Poland, Lithuania and even in Germany, however.
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- rationalamericanImminent sarcasm incomming21:09, 16/12/2013Yes, this will solve all of the problems, lets point more missiles at each other. Nothing bad can come from this.
NATO needs to calm down but doing this will only lead to further agitation. Stand down, both of you!
- Wolfgang9I have no idea22:44, 16/12/2013how stupid politicians in Poland,
Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania are that they think they could get away when they permit NATO to buildup their missile defense against Russia. Anybody with some Logic in his/her head would know that they would be target #1. Do this little countries really think that NATO, and especially the USA, would defend their asses???
I'm with Russia on this, and Russia should be aware that this NATO politics is a real threat to its existence!
- Mikhail1228RE: NATO18:27, 17/12/2013I don't think that thoughts of NATO keep anyone awake at the Kremlin.
Russia is a founding member state of The Shanghai Cooperation Organisation or SCO is an intergovernmental military alliance of mutual security.
Shanghai Cooperation Organization Forces:
Active personnel 5,325,000
Reserve personnel 7,675,000
Available personnel for immediate activation and Conscription 192,039,958
Total of personnel 205,039,958
The economic and numerical might of China, together with the military prowess and nuclear arsenal of Russia.
- firstname.lastname@example.org(no title)08:06, 18/12/2013Thank you, US, NATO, for agitating Russian Bear. You don't mess with the Bear without consequences.
- mobealeII17:44, 18/12/2013Here we go again. Hope it stays cold!
- jg(no title)05:05, 23/12/2013"Bild newspaper in Germany reported over the weekend that Russia had “quietly” moved 10 Iskander-M (SS-26 Stone) missile systems..."
These things aren't that quiet but I think the general idea when moving military hardware is that one doesn't tell everyone about it - especially when it comes to nuclear weapons.
Having said that, the Russian government indicated some time ago that, unless an agreement was reached about the US missile defence system, Iksander missile systems would be moved to Kaliningrad.
As I see it, if the numbers of missiles remain the same, this is not unreasonable. The US government claims that their missile defence system is not intended to alter the balance of nuclear forces agreed with Russia. If this is the case, moving some of Russia's weapons inside the missile shield will only serve to preserve the balance, so it should not be a problem.
I have never understood why the US military and government could not see that the implementation of the missile shield would alter the agreed balance of US and Russian nuclear forces and that this would cause some problems in relations with Russia.