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MOSCOW, December 17 (RIA Novosti) – Western officials have reacted with alarm at Russia’s deployment of tactical missiles on areas bordering NATO members states, describing it as a potentially destabilizing move.
Russian officials have confirmed that missiles capable of carrying nuclear warheads have been moved to the Western Military District – a territory that abuts all three Baltic States and Poland – in a measure that marks an escalation in Moscow’s campaign to dissuade a US-backed missile shield program in Central Europe.
US State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf said at a briefing on Monday that Washington “urged Moscow to take no steps to destabilize the region.”
Russian’s Defense Ministry has defended the deployment, saying that it violated no international agreements. Russia has not revealed the number and exact location of the missiles, and it remains unclear how long they have been in the region.
The 4-ton mobile Iskander-M missiles in question are designed to carry nuclear warheads and have a range of 400 kilometer (250 miles) and fly in a quasi-ballistic trajectory to confuse missile defense systems.
The Associated Press cited US General Philip Breedlove, the head NATO commander in Europe, as saying Tuesday that such a move would demonstrate the need for improved communication between Russia and NATO.
On Tuesday, Latvia’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement that it was “alarmed at Russia’s steps and considers [its] actions unjustified.”
Mindaugas Zickus, a foreign policy advisor to the Lithuanian President, told a local radio station on Tuesday that the missile deployment illustrated duplicity on Russia’s part.
“Russia’s declared support for closer dialogue and strategic cooperation with the European Union and NATO is incompatible with such actions,” Zickus said.
In 2011, then-president Dmitry Medvedev announced a set of measures that Russia would employ to counter a proposed US-led missile defense system in Europe that included the construction of radar systems for air defense and stationing nuclear-equipped Iskander missiles in the region.
The United States insists the missile shield is aimed at defending its allies from emerging-threat states Iran and North Korea.
Analysts consider high-speed, short-range nuclear missiles destabilizing as they drastically shorten the time between a missile launch and nuclear detonation increasing the risk of a preemptive strike.
Russian defense officials said last week that the recently struck deal with Iran to abandon its nuclear weapons ambitions negates the need for the missile shield plans. The US Defense Secretary said on Monday that missile defense system would go forward as planned and was not connected to the Iran deal.
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- bielecOh, surprise, surprise...19:24, 17/12/2013What a short memory! Wasn't the deployment of NATOs missile shield on the borders of Russia a "destabilizing move"? What Russia is doing is a reaction to NATOs action.
And Russia had long ago warned the West that this is exactly what would happen, if the missile shield was installed in Poland or other bordering countries. So, stop predending that you are "alarmed". You have what you asked for.
- rationalamericanProving a prieviously mistaken point19:33, 17/12/2013How did Russia think an international military alliance was going to react? By deploying these missile systems, Russia is only justifying the placement of the missile shield program to NATO when previously it wasn't the case.
If as NATO claims that the missile shield was aimed at protecting Europe from Iranian ballistic missiles then from the beginning Russia should have been involved by being offered inspections of the facility or further involvement if Russia so chooses but that point is quite moot now.
This pointless and unjustified building of tensions and destruction of hard fought betterment of relations through unnecessary military countermeasures serves to protect no one. And I am speaking to both sides on this idiotic game, this nonsense needs to stop immediately.
- bielecOh, stop this nonsense, "rational"american18:12, 18/12/2013We are not going to argue what was first the chicken or the egg. Everybody knows who started this. NATO has no business crawling towards Russia's borders.
And don't try to reverse the cause-effect order here. It's like saying that improvements in American shorline defences justified the placement of Soviet rockets in Cuba, which resulted in Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962.
If you want to know why Russia is responding to the deployment of NATO missiles on its borders, listen to President Kennedy speech of October 22, 1962:
- mythoslightThey should...21:14, 17/12/2013...you can´t simply go strutting around and poking into the bears lair and expect nothing is going to happen. Swedes found out the hard way, so did Napoleon and certainly the Nazis. One thing is for sure, you cant say Russia didn´t warn you boys!
- GarryBMAD01:03, 18/12/2013It is all about maintaining MAD.
If one side increases their defences against ballistic missiles then the other side has to react with an attack capability to negate that defence and restore the M in MAD.
If one side were to gain an advantage then that really would destabilise the situation.
If the EU and NATO want to talk about improving relations all they need to do is allow Russia to be full partners in the defence system or to simply sign a piece of paper promising it will never be used against Russia.
The only sensible reason for not doing either or both is because it will be used against Russia... which means Russia is obliged to react... that is how MAD works. (MAD = Mutually Assured Destruction)
- haavarlaSaw this coming two years ago..15:22, 18/12/2013Alarmed is such a fals claim by Us. They knew exactly what would happend. The only sad thing is US decided to test the Russian MoD resolve. If you play With fire, eventually you will get burned..
- Mikhail1228NATO19:00, 18/12/2013I 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.