Russia has recently deployed nuclear-capable Iskander missiles in Kaliningrad, the western region of Russia which happens to border NATO members Lithuania and Poland. This is something being watched closely by Poland and is considered the highest concern.
Disagreements between Russia and NATO have been becoming extremely heated in recent times. This mainly concerning things like Syria and the Ukraine. While Russia’s defense ministry has mentioned that the new deployment was simply one of many parts to a military exercise it has managed to cause quite the stir.
The Polish Defense Minister Antoni Macierewicz has called Russia’s current activities ‘very alarming’. Russia’s military advances are a big issue for NATO, The Iskander System itself has a range of up to 700km (440 miles) and could reach the Berlin the German capital. The city of Kaliningrad was once known as Koenigsberg and was founded bu Teutonic knights back in the 13th century. It was once known as the capital of Prussia. Kaliningrad was annexed from Germany after WWII, all German’s were expelled or fled. It is more than 300km away from Russia itself and can only be reached through an EU country.
This city houses the Russian Baltic Fleet and is the countries only European port that is considered ice-free. Russia’s support of the Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has been continuously testing relations with the Western Powers. There have also been several nations to report recent air-space violations by the Russian military. Finland, Sweden, Estonia, and Latvia seem to be the first few. The move of these missiles seems to be aimed at pressuring the West into making concessions over Syria and the Ukraine. Poland has reacted angrily towards this situation and Lithuania has mentioned that this could be considered a breach in a key nuclear arms treaty.
On Friday, the United States officially called for Russia and Syria to be investigated for war crimes for the bombing of hospitals in Aleppo. They also accused Moscow of attempting to interfere with the American Presidential election. These missiles are causing severely high tension in that region and will likely have a negative impact on security there. NATO has responded to this issue by agreeing to deploy four battalions in Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia.