Latvian Ambassador to Russia: if Moscow stations Iskander missile systems permanently in Kaliningrad NATO will have to respond

If the recent permanent deployment of Iskander mobile short-range ballistic missile systems to the Kaliningrad region (the Russian Federation) are confirmed, this could be interpreted as a step toward the imbalance and destabilizing of the situation with Russia, according to the Ambassador of Latvia to Russia, Maris Riekstins, on LTV’s Rita Panorama program.

According to the Rus.TVNET, Mr. Riekstins also said that Russia had not announced the stationing of the missile systems, though there had been earlier statements from Russia in which it considered strengthening its military defense in the Baltic region in response to NATO’s bolstered positions in the Baltic States and Poland.

At the same time, the Latvian ambassador stressed that the deployment of the Iskander systems in Kaliningrad region was not surprising. If the information is confirmed that the Iskanders were stationed permanently, the NATO states would have to discuss measures in response.

Riekstins discarded an idea that Russia was challenging NATO’s ability to arrive in the Baltic region in time as an “oversimplified interpretation.” According to Riekstins, NATO possesses a diverse range of capabilities enabling it to extend support to any of its territories in the event of a crisis. At the same time, Riekstins noted that the population must realize that Latvia had already been within the reach of similar Russian missiles.

“I would not say that currently we feel a military threat from the Russians. I think this is because NATO has had a very effective deterrence policy in place for years and continues working in that direction,” the ambassador said.

Earlier NATO said in an official statement that the deployment of the Iskander missile systems in Kaliningrad region escalated tensions between Russia and the alliance. At the same time, the Press Secretary for the Russian President, Dmitry Peskov, said that the stationing of Russian military equipment in Russian territory should not be viewed as a threat to other countries.

  Latvia, Iskander missiles, Kaliningrad, Russia

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