The high-precision Iskander missile systems will be deployed in the Leningrad military district on Russia's western border later this year, the Commander-in-Chief of the Russian Ground Forces Colonel-General Alexander Postnikov said.
To be more exact, the Iskander missile systems will be deployed on Russia's border with Estonia. However, they will cover, practically, the whole territory of the Baltic countries, meaning Latvia and Estonia because these are missiles with a range nearly reaching 500 kilometres.
It is absolutely clear that the Baltic countries and the other NATO member-states show no enthusiasm on that score. It is just the other way around: they will again display their discontent over this. You know, we remember very well how painfully they reacted some time ago to Russia's promises to deploy the Iskander missile systems in the Kaliningrad Region in response to Washington's plans to establish the global U.S. missile defence system bases in the Czech Republic and Poland.
As you might remember, the new U.S. administration rejected the plans of the former U.S. president George W. Bush. Russia assessed this as a good move and responded likewise: it decided to take no measures in return. True, later it became clear that Washington will deploy its Patriot missiles in Poland. And then it became known that the USA plans to deploy the global missile defence system facilities in Romania and, possibly, in Bulgaria.
At the same time, Washington does not stop to say that all its missile defence plans are aimed at neutralizing the possible threat coming from Iran and that they pose no danger to Russia. Moscow does not believe in what Washington says, remembering very well the recent past. After the collapse of the Warsaw Pact the USA and NATO promised not to advance NATO's military structure further Eastward.
Where it is now everybody knows. Therefore, President Dmitry Medvedev said in an interview for the French magazine "Paris Match" earlier this week that bringing NATO's military structure into close proximity to the Russian borders, currently underway, and the re-configuration of the missile systems remain an object of serious concern for Moscow. And the Commander-in-Chief of the Russian Ground Forces explained that the upcoming appearance of the Iskander missile systems in the Leningrad Region is in no way linked with the deployment of the U.S. Patriot missiles in Poland. Russia's army, he says, is simply re-equipping its troops with modern weapons. This seems logical enough. The USA and NATO take into account their own interests, ignoring Moscow's concerns. Under such conditions, Russia must and finds it necessary to ensure its national security, regardless of the fact whether somebody likes its Iskander missiles or not.