Russia's Baltic Radar to Monitor Europe Missile Launches
Russia's radar station in the Baltic exclave of Kaliningrad will monitor missile launches from the future NATO / US missile defense system in Europe, the Russian Aerospace Defense Forces chief said on Friday.
"We will be able to control the entire European continent and the Atlantic, including the European missile defense system," Lt. Gen. Oleg Ostapenko said, as cited by RIA Novosti.
The radar station is ready to go into operation as part of the national missile early warning attack system, he said.
In addition, Iskander tactical missiles (SS-26 under NATO classification) will be deployed in the Kaliningrad region "in the near future," the general said.
Russia's air defense system will have the capability to intercept any type of missiles, any targets at any speed, including hypersonic ones, Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov said on Tuesday, as quoted by RIA Novosti.
The new system, comprising air defense, missile defense, missile early warning attack and space control systems, should be up and running by December 1.
Ostapenko's remarks come after President Dmitry Medvedev said on Wednesday that Russia would move "advanced offensive weapon systems" to its European borders in response to a planned U.S.-backed NATO missile shield if talks on the project fail.
Moscow is seeking written, legally binding guarantees that the shield will not be directed against it. Washington, however, has refused to put its verbal assurances in writing.
Washington responded by saying it would not alter its plans for a European missile defense project, despite increasingly tough rhetoric from Moscow.
NATO has moved to establish a missile shield in Europe, which was formerly a US project of the Bush Administration, by stationing interceptor missiles at the Deveselu Air Base in Romania, near Bulgaria's border, and a radar in Turkey.
In spite of the various statements on both sides that Russia could eventually participate in the European missile defense system of NATO, the Russians remain out and opposed to the missile shield for the time being.
As a countermeasure, Russia could go ahead with wider deployment of Iskander missiles (NATO reporting name SS-26 Stone), which have a range of 400 km, according to a Russian military official cited Monday by Interfax.
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