by John Galt
October 7, 2016 18:15 ET
IF Western news media and government reports are to be believed, the Russian government just upped the ante in the Cold War v2.0 considerably with this report. From Malta Today:
Estonian officials have said that Russia appears to be moving powerful, nuclear capable missiles into Kaliningrad, a Russian outpost province sandwiched between Poland and Lithuania along the Baltic coast.
The Iskander-M missiles, which have a range of over 500km, are reportedly being transported by ship from the St Petersburg area. It had previously been reported that the Russians might seek to place the Iskander-M missiles in Kaliningrad but not until 2018-19.
If confirmed, the move would be seen by western governments as another sign that Russia is seeking to establish facts on the ground, from eastern Europe to the Middle East, before a new US president takes office in January.
Estonian officials said they were monitoring the ship and its contents. The ship, called the Ambal, was due to dock on Friday; reports of the cargo came from Estonian government sources.
An Estonian defence expert said: “This weapon is highly sophisticated and there is no comparable weapon in western armoury. It can carry nuclear weapons, change direction mid-flight and fly distances of up to 500km. As such it is capable of threatening Poland, including the US missile defence installations there. You would not change the date of the delivery of a system such as this on a whim. The intention is to make a strong strategic point.”
The Russians already have a missile brigade on Kaliningrad, but the OTR-21 Tochka short-range missile is less sophisticated, and not capable of carrying nuclear weapons.
The Iskander-M, the Persian name for Alexander the Great, is a ballistic rocket system designed to destroy strategic targets, and its stationing is arguably in breach of the intermediate-range nuclear forces treaty.
The Estonian prime minister Taavi Rõivas said: “References to Iskander missile system being transported by the Baltic Sea to Kaliningrad are certainly alarming and show yet again Russia’s attempts to pressure the west by using different tools.”
On Thursday, a Russian military An-72 aircraft penetrated Estonian airspace over the island of Vaindloo without permission and spent about minute and a half in the country’s airspace.
The aircraft transponder was switched on, but no flight plan was submitted and the aircraft did not respond to radio contact with the Estonian air movement service.
The Estonian foreign ministry on Friday summoned the Russian ambassador to Estonia to hand him a protest note.
Finland said two similar planes had passed over its territory as it prepared to sign a defence pact with the US.
IF this is confirmed, the United States will have to consider moving some of their nuclear missile submarines into the North Atlantic and closer to Europe, perhaps in the North Sea, as a response. The reported positioning of short range anti-ballistic missile systems is laughable because Russia can overwhelm the capabilities by launching hundreds of drones and decoys long before the real nukes start hitting U.S. and NATO military positions; or Warsaw, Poland itself.
Thank you Obama. Those of us that survived the first Cold War think you are a Class A-One asshole for starting another one.