Russia could deploy missiles near Poland

Russia could deploy its latest Iskander missiles close to Poland if plans to install U.S. Patriots on Polish soil go ahead, Interfax quoted a senior Russian officer as saying on Thursday.

Polish Deputy Defense Minister Stanislaw Komorowski told Reuters on Monday Warsaw wanted U.S. Patriot air defense missiles to be deployed this year regardless of whether President Barack Obama decided to press ahead with missile defense plans in Europe.


Russian Iskander

Moscow strongly opposes the missile shield proposed by Obama’s predecessor George W. Bush, which aims to place a radar in the Czech Republic and interceptor missiles in Poland. Russia says the shield is a threat to its security.

“Patriot systems, if they are deployed, will cover future work on installing a unit of the U.S. strategic air defense system with interceptor missiles in Poland,” Interfax news agency quoted an unidentified member of Russia’s general staff as saying.

He said Russia had proposed as a counter-measure “to deploy the tactical Iskander missile in the Kaliningrad region,” which borders NATO member Poland, in response to deployment of the U.S. missile shield, Interfax reported.

“One cannot exclude that the issue of the Iskander will arise again,” he added.

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev pledged last November to station surface-to-surface Iskander missiles in Kaliningrad if the United States went ahead with its plans.

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