Vilnius/Moscow: The Lithuanian President has warned that half the European capitals have come in range of the missiles deployed by Russia in Kaliningrad. It was exposed recently, that Russia has started to deploy nuclear-capable ‘Iskander’ missiles, at its defence base in Kaliningrad, on a permanent basis. There were anxious reactions, about this, from the Baltic countries and NATO. Russia had supported the deployment saying that it is its sovereign right to deploy any weapons anywhere in the country.
Kaliningrad is an important defence base for Russia in the Baltic region and Russian armed forces had even carried out war exercises in the region. During these exercises, the short-range ‘Iskander’ missiles were deployed. But, these missiles were said to be taken away after the exercises. In view of this, the re-deployment of the ‘Iskander’ missiles in Kaliningrad draws attention.
The head of the Russian parliamentary defence committee, Vladimir Shamanov has confirmed the deployment. In an interview to a Russian news agency, Shamanov has said that ‘Iskander’ have been deployed in Kaliningrad. The ‘Iskander’ have been deployed to counter the NATO movements near the Russian border and the US deployment in Poland.
Dmitri Peskov, the spokesman of Russian President Vladimir Putin, has endorsed the concerned deployment. ‘Deployment of weapon systems or a military contingent within the Russian borders is a matter related to its sovereignty. Russia has never threatened anyone and will not threaten anyone even in the future. But, Russia has a right to deploy weapons within its own borders. This need not be a cause of worry for anyone’, clarified Peskov.
The Lithuanian President, Dalia Grybauskaite, has expressed grave concern about the deployment. ‘Iskander missiles have been permanently deployed in Kaliningrad. This is not a threat only to Lithuania, but half of Europe has come in the range of these missiles.’ warned President Grybauskaite. Along with Lithuania, Latvia also has expressed concerns over the deployment.
The ‘Iskander’ missiles capable of travelling at 6 times the speed of sound, have been deployed in different part of Russia and is said to have a range of 400 to 500 kilometres.