westernmost region in response to US plans for a missile shield in
President Dmitry Medvedev ordered the system to be activated on a visit
to the radar unit in Kaliningrad, a Baltic region bordering EU
The unit is equipped with the new Voronezh-DM radar system.
Mr Medvedev has warned Russian missiles could be deployed on the EU’s borders if the shield is installed.
Washington wants an anti-missile shield ready by 2020, arguing that it
is necessary to provide protection from the potential missile threat
posed by countries like Iran.
Under President George W Bush, the US had initially intended to locate
major parts of the shield in Poland and the Czech Republic, but Russia
When Barack Obama took office in the White House, he scaled back the original ambitions.
“Nato’s missile defence system [is] designed to defend against threats
from outside Europe – not designed to alter balance of deterrence,” Nato
chief Anders Fogh Rasmussen said in a recent tweet.
In a statement carried by Russian news agencies, Mr Medvedev said: “I
expect that this step will be seen by our partners as the first signal
of the readiness of our country to make an adequate response to the
threats which the missile shield poses for our strategic nuclear
Russian Iskander ballistic missile launchers on display near Moscow, 20
April 2010 Russia has said it may deploy Iskander ballistic missile
launchers in Kaliningrad
Quoted by Interfax, he said: “If our signal is ignored… we will deploy
other means of defence including the adoption of tough counter-measures
and the deployment of a strike group.”
Mr Medvedev has spoken of deploying Iskander missiles – modern versions
of the mobile Scud surface-to-surface missile – in Kaliningrad.
On Tuesday, he said Russia was ready to listen to new anti-missile
defence proposals from “Western partners” but added that “verbal
statements are not enough”.
The radar system activated on Mr Medvedev’s orders was installed this
year at Pionerskoye, Kaliningrad, and is meant to replace older systems
in Ukraine and Belarus, according to Russian news website.
With an operating range of 6,000km (3,730 miles), the Voronezh DM can
cover “all of Europe and the Atlantic”, according to the Russian
It is designed to detect space and aerodynamic targets, including ballistic and cruise missiles.