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Russian senator advises NATO officials to recall geography lessons

Arms deployment in Kaliningrad region is Russia’s sovereign right, the senator noted commenting on NATO chief's reamarks about Russia's deployment of the tactical missile complexes in the area

MOSCOW, February 15. /TASS/. Iskander missile complex does not put international security in jeopardy in any way but it ensures Russia’s powerful defense in a situation where NATO is expanding eastwards, Viktor Bondarev, the chairman of defense and security committee in the upper house of Russian parliament told TASS on Thursday.

Deployment of Iskanders in the Baltic exclave Kaliningrad region is Russia’s sovereign affair, he said in a comment on an earlier call by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, who asked for more transparency as regards the deployment of the tactical missile complexes in the Kaliningrad area.

"A sovereign country has the legitimate right to place units of the Armed Forces, armaments and equipment on its territory wherever it finds such placements necessary and it doesn’t have to report to anyone," the senator said.

"It’s time to make a reminder to the official representatives of Western organizations who may have forgotten geography that the Kaliningrad region is a constituent territory of the Russian Federation," Bondarev said. "It’s our legitimate enclave in a hostile Baltic environment around it."

Russia did not ratify any international agreements that would bind it to inform the rest of the world on the movement and redeployment of military groupings and armaments of this kind within its sovereign territory, he said

Simultaneously, the senator said the Iskanders were defensive tactical weapons and were not meant for offensive operations.

He also said the missiles launched by Iskander complexes were to be viewed not only in terms of asymmetric responses to NATO activities but, in the first place, as component elements of a comprehensive system of fortifying Russia’s defense capabilities.

Most importantly, the missiles did not violate in any way the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, since their effective range did not exceed 500 km, Ozerov said.

"Iskander is a non-strategic weapon and that’s why it doesn’t fall into the realm of restrictions specified by the New START treaty," he said.

The chairman of the State Duma committee for Defense, Gen Vladimir Shamanov, Ret., confirmed the information on redeploying the Iskanders to the Kaliningrad region earlier. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said in this connection the deployment of armament systems on the Russian territory was not to be a matter of concern for other nations, as Russia was not threatening anyone.

Iskander missile complexes were designed for destroying the enemy’s missile complexes, salvo systems, extended-range artillery weapons, command headquarters, and signal operation stations.