According to a report on the news portal MSN, #Russia had declared that it will continue to keep its ballistic missiles on the border with #NATO. The reason for this, according to Russian president Vladimir Putin, is to take measures against the alliance’s alleged expansion in the areas that are in the proximity of Russia.
An alleged threat to Russia’s safety
This declaration comes from the head of Russia’s defense committee, Viktor Ozerov, who said that the Iskander ballistic missiles (which have nuclear capabilities) are to remain in Kaliningrad after being deployed there in October. Ozerov says that this measure is a response to the recent expansion of NATO in Eastern Europe.
Russian officials have taken these measures due to a number of reasons. One of these is the recent installation in Romania of an American Aegis missile defense shield in the month of May, the current year, which Russia sees as being a more or less subtle threat to their influence in the region. The deployment of S-400 and Iskander type missiles is seen by #Putin and Russian military officials as a counter-measure against the alleged threat that NATO represents for Russia in Eastern Europe.
NATO however has denied such allegations, saying that the shield is there in order to counter any threats that may come from Iran, who in the past has experimented with nuclear power and long range weapons, among other things.
In a report by The Times, Ozerov has also said that the Russians are both trying to protect against strikes, as well as be able to launch their own offensive. He rationalizes this move as a strengthening of Russia’s forces against the perceived threat.
In a recent interview (November 21) with well known Hollywood director and screenwriter Oliver Stone, Vladimir Putin said that Moscow feels NATO and its expansion represent a threat for his country’s security, saying that he questions the alliance’s decision-making.
John Kirby, the current US State Department spokesman has said that the deployment of ballistic missiles so close to the NATO borders threatens to destabilize security in all of Europe. He urged Russia to rethink it’s current strategy of deterrence. Meanwhile, Julian Lewis, UK chairman of the government defense committee has claimed that both Russia and NATO have enough nuclear armament to cancel each other’s threat. He further suggested this kind of tense atmosphere is nothing new, comparing it to the days of the Cold War.
NATO’s secretary general, Jens Stoltenberg, has denied Russia’s claims that the alliance is willingly threatening the security of the country. He said that NATO’s actions are defensive, claiming that they are in no way disproportionate and are not violating any international guidelines. He finished by declaring that NATO is trying to prevent a war, not start one.
The election of Donald Trump as president in the United States and the possible changes this could create when it comes to foreign policy is something that is watched with interest by the rest of the world, especially by the western nations. It remains to be seen what Russia's next move will be, given the current political climate.