More missiles installed in Baltic enclave
The S-400 missile. Source: Wikimedia
Moscow has deployed anti-shipping Bastion missile launchers in its Baltic enclave of Kaliningrad in addition to the S-400 missiles and the nuclear-capable Iskander systems which were reportedly recently installed.
The Interfax News reported that Kaliningrad, the colony between Poland and Lithuania which was East Prussia until 1945, was rearming the Baltic fleet with new missile launchers in response to Nato’s so-called missile shield. Russia’s ministry of defence made no comment on the story.
The Bastion fires supersonic Oniks cruise missiles, which have a range of 450km and can be used against ships and ground targets. Last week, they were used against Syrian militants.
US State Department spokesman John Kerby, claiming the move was a threat to European security, said: “The deployment of Iskander and S-400 missiles to Kaliningrad is destabilising to European security. Russia has made threats to move Iskander missiles to Kaliningrad now for the past decade in response to a variety of developments in Europe, none of which demand such a military response.”
Russia has objected to the Nato’s missile defensive shield to its west and vowed to take countermeasures.
In May the US unveiled a ground-based missile defence system in Romania and an additional anti-missile platform is being built in Poland. Russia claimed the move was in breach of a 1987 Cold-War agreement with the US.
Viktor Ozerov, who chairs the defence affairs committee in Russia’s upper house, told Ria Novosti news agency that the Kremlin would deploy Iskander tactical ballistic missiles and S-400 air defence missile systems to Kaliningrad in response to the US “shield”.
“We are facing two main tasks to penetrate air defences and ensure protection from possible strikes,” Ozerov said.
The S-400, which Russian forces have used to protect airbases in Syria, can track and accurately strike multiple aerial targets at ranges of around 400km. From Kaliningrad, the S-400s could target Nato aircraft and missiles across the Baltic region.
Iskander has a range of up to 500km and high precision, allowing it to strike Nato members with pinpoint accuracy. It can be fitted with conventional and nuclear warheads.
In a documentary film broadcast in Russia this week on Ukraine, directed by Oliver Stone, Putin appeared to threaten US installations in Europe.
“When a country becomes a Nato member, it’s very difficult for it to resist pressure from such a big country leading Nato, the US. And then you can get whatever they want there – missile defence systems, or new bases and if required new missile systems. And what should we do? Well in this case we should take counter-measures, to use our missile systems to hit those targets which have started to threaten us. The situation is worrying,” Putin said.