Russian Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov today warned that Russia would not hesitate to deploy Iskander missiles in the exclave of Kaliningrad if they perceived a threat in Eastern Europe, an apparent reference to the US missile defense plans.
Russia had previously discussed the Iskander deployment last year to counter the US missile defense in Poland. It seemed that this possibility was eliminated when the US abandoned that plan.
But the new, alternative defense plan will put US missiles just 35 miles from Kaliningrad, even closer than the previous plan. They also plan to put missiles in Romania.
In addition to giving the Russian government pause on the Iskander move, officials insisted again today that the US missile defense deployments were stalling the talks between the two nations on a new nuclear arms reduction treaty. The US has insisted the two issues should not be related, but Russia has insisted that it is unreasonable to agree to reduce their nuclear arsenal at the same time as the US is putting defense missiles that reduce the arsenal’s effectiveness along the frontier.