Then more recent news of US troops moved to the Russia border in Norway…..
Tensions are already on the rise between the US and Russia over massive US deployments in Germany for a training exercise marching east toward Russia. A force of US Marines are now heading to Trondheim, Norway for another deployment along the Russian border.
Russia is none too happy, again, both annoyed at the US for deployment yet more troops…
The Navy and U.S. Missile Defense Agency declared a ballistic missile defense site in Romania operational this week.
The Lockheed Martin-built Aegis Ashore facility in Deveselu is the first of two sites planned as part of the U.S. and NATO’s BMD network based on the same technology used in the Navy’s guided missile destroyers and cruisers to protect against ballistic missile threats.
The site is built around a SPY-1D(V) air-search radar linked to three 8-cell Mark-41 Vertical Launch Systems armed with Raytheon Standard Missile 3 interceptors – the same equipment used on destroyers. The installation is named by U.S. sailors.
Russian officials sounded off against this newly activated U.S. missile defense site in Romania, calling it a threat to Russia and European stability in general.
As the Aegis Ashore missile defense site was formally activated during a ceremony featuring U.S., NATO and Romanian officials at a Cold War-era base, Admiral Vladimir Komyedov, head of the State Duma’s defense committee, told the Interfax news agency “they are moving to the firing line.”
“This is not just 100,” he said. “It’s 200, 300, 1,000 percent aimed against us.”
The former commander of the Russian Black Sea fleet brushed aside U.S. claims that the missile defense site was intended to deter Iranian threats.
Today, the US declared the Aegis Ashore air defense system in Romania to be officially operational. The Aegis Ashore component based at Deveselu air base in Romania is part of a missile defense umbrella being built to counter the growing threat posed to European territory by ballistic missiles fired from nations such as Iran. The fear is that Iran will eventually possess missiles able to reach population centers in Europe and this missile defense system is a safeguard against the possibility of a future attack. Although the system was designed and built with rogue nations like Iran in mind, its appearance in Eastern Europe has long been a bone of contention between the US and Russia. Now, with tensions in the region rising, one has to wonder how Moscow will respond to the reality of an operational missile defense system on its front porch.
Estonian security officer Eston Kohver, imprisoned by Moscow on espionage charges, is back home after being exchanged for jailed Russian spy Aleksei Dressen.
Interior Minister Hanno Pevkur confirmed that Kohver, an officer with the country’s Internal Security Service, is back in Estonia.Pevkur said that Kohver, who spent almost 13 months in Russian prisons, will be reunited with his family.
Poland has reacted to reports that Russia is sending the missiles to its exclave of Kaliningrad by building observation towers on its border.
Poland will build six watchtowers to survey its 200-kilometre-long border with the Russian enclave of Kaliningrad, border police have said.
They will cost more than 14 million złoty (3.7 million euros, $3.8 million), Mirosława Aleksandrowicz said, adding that 75% of the amount would come from an EU fund for external borders.
The six towers will be up to 50 metres (164 feet) high and ready in June for round-the-clock surveillance, the spokeswoman for Poland’s border police told the PAP news agency.
Kaliningrad is near the Baltic Sea, sandwiched between Poland and Lithuania, both EU members. Lithuania’s President Dalia Grybauskaitė said last month that Russia had sent nuclear-capable Iskander missiles to Kaliningrad, which could “reach even Berlin”.
Russia’s seizure and annexation of Crimea, support for separatists in eastern Ukraine and stepped-up military drills have caused unease in the Baltic states and Poland, which lay behind the Iron Curtain a quarter of a century ago.
More than three million Russians and an equal number of Poles passed through border posts to heavily militarised Kaliningrad last year. Source: Theguardian.com