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Russia's FM warns against whipping up tensions over Iskander missiles

December 19, 2013, 18:14 UTC+3 WARSAW
Lavrov expressed hope that no one will whip up emotions and try to build up confrontation over this
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© ITAR-TASS/Valeriy Sharifulin

WARSAW, December 19. /ITAR-TASS/. President Vladimir Putin has replied to all concerns about Iskander missiles in the Kaliningrad region, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Thursday, December 19, and warned against attempts to whip up tensions over this issue.

Speaking after a meeting of the Russian-Polish committee on strategic cooperation, Lavrov expressed hope that “no one will whip up emotions and try to build up confrontation over this.”

Polish Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski said his country hoped that Moscow would keep its word and will refrain from stationing Iskander missiles in the Kaliningrad region if American anti-missile defence elements are not deployed near its border.

The deployment of Iskander missile squadrons in Russia’s westernmost Kaliningrad region was not discussed with the EU foreign ministers, Lavrov said on Monday after a meeting with his EU colleagues in Brussels.

“As regards an allegedly sensational article in some German newspaper, our Defence Ministry has provided explanations. This issue was not discussed today,” he said.

This past weekend, some mass media reported that Iskander systems would be deployed in the Kaliningrad region.

The deployment of Iskander missiles in the Kaliningrad region does not run counter to international agreements, the Russian Defence Ministry said.

“Missile troops and artillery units of the Western Military District are in fact armed with Iskander operational and tactical missile systems,” Defence Ministry Spokesperson Igor Konashenkov said.

He stressed that “concrete areas where Iskander squadrons are stationed in the Western Military District do not run counter to international agreements.”

The Iskander is a tactical ballistic missile system manufactured by the Federal State Unitary Enterprise, Design Bureau of Machine Building, for the Russian ground forces. Iskander missiles were first test fired in 1996. The Russian army acquired the Iskander-M extended-range ballistic missile system in 2006.

The Iskander mobile missile system can engage ground targets such as command posts and communications nodes, troops in concentration areas, air and missile defence facilities and fixed and rotary-wing aircraft at airfields.

The Iskander was developed in the 1990s.

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