Russian missile deployment raises alarm

Wednesday, December 18, 2013
By Paul Martin
Dec 17, 2013

Washington has joined Russia’s neighbours in voicing alarm after Moscow revealed it had moved nuclear-capable Iskander missiles closer to EU borders in response to the US-led deployment of a disputed air defence shield.

The advanced version of the Russian missile has a range of 500 kilometres (310 miles) and could potentially be used to take out ground-based radar and interceptors of the new NATO shield.

Moscow’s announcement Monday prompted concern from the United States as well as neighbouring Poland and three Baltic states — Estonia, Lithuania and Latvia.

“We’ve urged Russia to take no steps to destabilize the region,” State Department deputy spokeswoman Marie Harf said in response, adding the US had also passed on to Moscow its neighbours’ concerns.

Poland’s foreign ministry called the planned missile movement “disturbing”.

“This is a matter for NATO and we can expect possible consultations and action… at the NATO and EU level,” the ministry added in a statement.

Latvia’s Defence Minister Artis Pabriks said that “several Baltic cities” were threatened by the move.

“It is clear that it is alarming news as it is one of the arguments changing balance of powers in our region,” he said, according to the Baltic News Service (BNS).

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