NATO Commander Concerned at Russian Missile Deployment

Iskander MissilesNATO’s military commander voiced concern on Tuesday at Russia’s deployment of Iskander missiles in its Baltic Sea territory of Kaliningrad , saying it showed the need for better communication between Russia and the Western alliance.

The pro-Kremlin newspaper Izvestia reported on Monday that the missiles, which have a range of hundreds of kilometers, have been in place in Kaliningrad, which borders NATO members Poland and Lithuania, “for some time“.

NATO’s Supreme Allied Commander Europe, U.S. Air Force General Philip Breedlove, said on Tuesday he was concerned by the report.

“This is something that we need to understand and get the real facts on,” he told a small group of reporters in Berlin.

He suggested that the disclosure showed the need for a more regular and reliable communications channel between NATO and Russian military commanders.

“Our ships in the Eastern Med(iterranean) are very close to each other … Our aircraft every day are encountering each other in the North Sea and along the Baltics and other places. There can be no room for miscalculation,” he said.

“We as military men and women in the leadership of this alliance … we have to have a medium of trusted, constant, reliable communication,” Breedlove said.

Asked if such a channel existed, he said: “I would not grade it as being where we need it to be yet but we are working at it very hard.”

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Image: Iskander Missiles (photo: Center for Nonproliferation Studies)