Russia weighs placement of nuclear missiles in Kaliningrad

Russian news agency Interfax is reporting the Russian Defense Ministry is considering the deployment of an unknown number of 9K720 Iskander missiles to the Kaliningrad oblast.

“A final decision will be taken after detailed analysis of the potential threat,” Interfax reported a Russian Defense Ministry source as saying.

The Kremlin is exploring the option of placing the mobile, short-range missile Iskander system in Kaliningrad in response to a German ZDF television station account which revealed the Pentagon has budgeted for the United States Air Force to station 20 upgraded B61 nuclear bombs in Germany.

Addressing the Russian media, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov described the move as a “violation of the strategic balance in Europe that would demand a Russian response.”

“This could alter the balance of power in Europe and without a doubt it would demand that Russia take necessary countermeasures to restore the strategic balance and parity,” said Peskov.

Delivered from an aircraft, the B61 nuclear bomb is reputed to possess strength of over 300 megatons and has been a mainstay of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) nuclear sharing arrangement.  Of the roughly 200 B61 bombs in the American nuclear arsenal, 180 are placed in Europe.

This appears to be a time of daring and hubris in Russian-American relations.

The prevailing attitudes in Washington and in the Kremlin amounts to little more than petty point scoring, but will deepen a destructive hatred.

Some may refer to this move by either side as fair play in establishing deterrence; however, millions of Europeans would prefer Mr. Obama and Mr. Putin be more realistic about the implications of taking such action.

While the United States and Russia lazily inch closer to extolling the virtue of cooperation in Syria, neither share the same enthusiasm for communicating more effectively over Europe.  Both sides appear to be committed to a policy of grievance and agitation.


[The Moscow Times] [Photo courtesy]