Russia hails nuclear-capable missile deployments
Russia has defended its deployment of nuclear-capable weapons in Kaliningrad, its enclave between Poland and Lithuania.
The advanced Iskander missiles are within range of large areas of Poland, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia.
The head of the Russian parliamentary defence committee, Vladimir Shamanov, said: “The deployment of one weapon or another, the deployment of military units and so forth on Russian territory, is exclusively a sovereign issue for the Russian Federation.
“Russia has never threatened anyone and is not threatening anyone. Naturally, Russia has this sovereign right. It should hardly be cause for anyone to worry.”
Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaiten said the missiles were a permanent basis threat to the region.
She said: “Iskander missiles are being stationed in Kaliningrad for permanent presence as we speak.” The president was visiting Nato soldiers stationed in the central Lithuanian town of Tukla.
Grybauskaitent said the missiles threatened “half of all European countries”.
Latvian foreign minister, Edgars Rinkevics, told the media the missiles added urgency to ongoing Nato discussions about improving security.
Russia’s Baltic Fleet, which is based in Kaliningrad, is also set to declare its upgraded Kamov Ka-27M (‘Helix’) anti-submarine helicopters operational later this year.
The fleet’s 396th Separate Naval Anti-Submarine Helicopter Squadron at Donskoye airbase received its first Ka-27Ms in 2018 and has since been in the process of converting from its older PL models.
The Russian Ministry of Defence spokesman reportedly told the media that the “first modernised anti-submarine Ka-27M helicopters will go into service with the Baltic Fleet this year” with crews trained at the Yeysk naval academy.
Russian President Vladimir Putin this week oversaw military exercises from a navy ship in the Black Sea near the illegally seized Crimean peninsula, including the test launch of a hypersonic Kinzhal “Dagger” missile, Russia’s media was told.
Two MiG-31K interceptor jets test-fired the Kinzhal missiles at a target, the Kremlin said.
Russia has been building up its military strongholds on Crimea.
Putin unveiled the Kinzhal in March 2018
along with other missiles that were also capable of evading enemy defence systems.
The Russian media said the Dagger could hit targets at up to 2,000km with nuclear warheads and has been deployed in southern Russia.
Kaliningrad. Picture credit: Wikimedia