Dec 25, 2013
Putin Says Missiles Not Deployed in Kaliningrad
President Vladimir Putin dismissed reports that his country has deployed missiles in its Kaliningrad region, saying Russia has other ways to counter a planned U.S. missile shield.
Germany’s Bild-Zeitung this week reported that Russia deployed the missiles in recent months in the exclave between Poland and Lithuania, two NATO and European Union members. Russia’s Defense Ministry said Dec. 16 that it had placed tactical rockets in its “western district”.
Russia is locked with the EU in a struggle for influence in Ukraine, where President Viktor Yanukovych is facing the biggest protests in a decade after rejecting an EU accord in favor of closer Russian ties. Russia two days ago cut the price of natural gas paid by Ukraine by a third and offered to buy $15 billion of its neighbor’s debt.
Satellite images showed Iskander missiles, known as SS-26 in NATO code, in Kaliningrad, Bild said on Dec. 14. The Iskanders can deliver conventional or nuclear warheads in a range of about 500 kilometers (310 miles), which would encompass the Lithuanian, Latvian and Polish capitals, it said.
Russia said in 2011 that it may respond by deploying Iskander missiles in Kaliningrad if the U.S. built a planned missile-defense system in Europe.