Wednesday 25 April 2018

Russia's missile move condemned in tense stand-off

A protester cooks free meals at a rally in Kiev. Gleb Garanich
A protester cooks free meals at a rally in Kiev. Gleb Garanich

Bruno Waterfield Brussels

The US, Poland and three Baltic countries have expressed alarm at Russia's deployment of nuclear-capable missiles to the exclave of Kaliningrad, which borders the European Union.

The Kremlin confirmed that it has placed Iskander-M missiles in its western-most region following reports that spy satellite photographs showed the weapons stationed near the Polish border.

The nuclear capable missiles have a striking range of hundreds of miles and have been deployed by Russia in response to Nato's development of a missile defence shield against Iran.

Themissile move comes as tensions rise between the EU and Russia after the suspension of a European trade agreement with Ukraine following pressure from Moscow.

Marie Harf, a spokesman for the US State Department, said last night: "We've urged Russia to take no steps to destabilise the region."

Artis Pabriks, Latvia's defence minister, linked the deployment to the broader cooling relations between the EU and Russia as well as the long-running dispute between Moscow and Nato over missile defence. "It creates unnecessary political tension and suspicions and reduces mutual trust because we don't see reason why Russians would need such weapons here," he said. "I think it's just to show who is the boss in the region."

Irish Independent

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