Russia threatens more Baltic missiles
The Second Calvary Regiment arrived in Orzysz, Poland, from Germany to join Nato’s enhanced Forward Presence initiative, according to the US European Command website.
The head of the Russian parliamentary lower house defence affairs committee, retired general Vladimir Shamanov, said retaliatory actions could be taken after the US increased its weaponry around Kaliningrad, according to the RIA news agency.
The Iskander has a range of 500km, allowing Russia to attack several Nato capitals with considerable accuracy. It can also carry a nuclear warhead.
Russia deployed its first Iskanders, to what was the German province of East Prussia until 1945, last year in response to two US missile interceptor stations hosted in Poland and Romania.
Shamanov claimed the US “quietly” deploying an entire armoured squadron in Poland.
The Third Squadron and Second Squadron were due to rotate last month during the giant joint Russian-Belarusian Zapad-2017 (meaning “west”) exercise, claimed defence ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov last week. Moscow said the both units remained in the field.
“The Second Squadron arrived in Poland quietly with its military equipment. And, during this time, the military equipment of the Third Squadron did not leave Poland and the Baltics,” he announced.
Nato dismissed the accusations, saying that it “fully abides by the Nato-Russia Founding Act”, which was signed in 1997 with then president Boris Yeltsin and regulated the alliance’s move into the former Warsaw Pact countries.
In the Founding Act, Nato agreed that “in the current and foreseeable security environment”, it would refrain from “additional permanent stationing of substantial combat forces”.
“Any accusation that Nato is violating the act or breaking its promises, is untrue,” said the alliance’s deputy spokesman Piers Cazalet. He said the 4,000 troops deployed in Poland and the three Baltic states were “well below any reasonable definition of ‘substantial combat forces’ mentioned in the Nato-Russia Founding Act”.
A Nato statement said: “There has been no permanent stationing of substantial combat forces on the territory of eastern allies; and total force levels across the alliance have, in fact, been substantially reduced since the end of the Cold War.”
Iskander missiles. Picture credit: Wikimedia