bnn.lv Latviski   bnn-news.com English   bnn-news.ru По-русски
Saturday 17.11.2018 | Name days: Uga, Hugo, Uģis
LithuaniaLithuania

Iskander missile deployment in Kaliningrad brings up urgency of anti-ballistic system again

FaceBook
Twitter
Draugiem
print
(+1 rating, 1 votes)

Baltic news, News from Latvia, BNN.LV, BNN-NEWS.COM, BNN-NEWS.RU

Russian servicemen equip an Iskander tactical missile system at the Army-2015 international military-technical forum in Kubinka, outside Moscow, Russia, June 17, 2015

Linas Jegelevičius for the BNN

Russia deployed this week nuclear-capable Iskander missiles in the exclave of Kaliningrad, tucked in between Poland and Lithuania, and intends to keep them there permanently. It was Lithuania’s president Dalia Grybauskaitė and Raimundas Karoblis, the Defence minister, who broke the news which means imminent menace not only to Lithuania but to the entire Baltic region and, experts say, Scandinavia, too. The reaction of the other echelons of Lithuanian power has been quite lukewarm, which was not left unnoticed by Arvydas Anušauskas, a Lithuanian parliamentarian and a member of the Seimas’ Committee of National Security and Defence.

«Indeed, the Seimas could perhaps say more following the announcement on the missile deployment. There were only a couple of statements by several members of the Parliament. However, I am sure that, outside the legislature, closed-door meetings of the state’s key figures have taken place to assess the new security situation,» Anušauskas told BNN.

In her brief statement, President Dalia Grybauskaitė called the instalment of Iskander missiles a «threat» not just to Lithuania, but also to a half of European countries.

Meanwhile, the Defence minister accentuated that, until now, Russia used to bring the missile complex to the region wedged between Lithuania and Poland for military drills only, however, «this time the situation is different – it is permanent stationing with all the necessary infrastructure in place.»

Lithuania’s intelligence agencies have said that a placement of Iskander systems in Kaliningrad is potentially more dangerous for Lithuania due to its capacity to hinder NATO actions in the region. Lithuanian intelligence believes however that the missile complex is not needed for targets in Lithuania’s territory, as, theoretically, they could be taken down by the existing other Russian military capacities.

Now, however, with the missile system in proximity, it is crucial to update the alliance‘s contingency plans for the Baltics and facilitate the movement of military troops in the region and find ways of ensuring air defence over the Baltic Sea and the region’s countries, experts agree unanimously.

«NATO should start preparations for neutralisation of the capacities in the Russian region aimed at restricting the arrival of NATO Allies in the Baltic states in case of a conflict,» Karoblis stated.

Earlier this year, Grybauskaitė referred to the US Nuclear Posture Review released in January. The document calls for expanding America’s arsenal of low-yield nuclear weapons, which would be a more reliable deterrent against threats, particularly those from Russia.

The Lithuanian officials’ statements about the deployment of Iskander missiles in neighbourhood come as Lithuania marked this week the first anniversary of NATO’s enhanced Forward Presence Battle Group in the country.

The 1,400-strong unit, which is stationed in Rukla, is led by Germany and also includes troops from Croatia, France, the Netherlands and Norway. Similar units, each led by a different country, were last year deployed to Latvia, Estonia and Poland as well.

The other Baltic States also felt uneasy in the wake of the report on the missile stationing so close to their borders.

Kaspars Galkins, a spokesman for the Latvian Defence ministry, said that Latvia together with its NATO allies «have to keep investing in modern missile defence.»

He noted that such weapons are considered an «attack capability», which do not promote security and good neighbourly relations in the region.

The initial NATO reaction to the fact of Iskander deployment in Kaliningrad has been quite cautious so far.

NATO Deputy Secretary General Rose Gottemoeller, on a visit to Lithuania on Monday, February 5, said that the organization had to be «ascertained» whether the deployment of Iskander missiles in Kaliningrad is permanent.

«It’s very, very important to consider it very carefully. It is a very serious matter,» she said.

Meanwhile, President Vladimir Putin’s press secretary Dmitry Peskov was quoted as saying on Monday, February 5, that Russia has a «sovereign» right to deploy Iskander missiles in Kaliningrad Oblast, and «no one should be worried about it.»

«Russia has never threatened anyone, nor is it doing so now,» he underscored.

Although there are talks that the Baltics have certain missile defence elements installed now, however, they are not able to withstand the risks stemming from the Iskander system deployment in Kaliningrad.

«The Redzikowo AEGIS Ashore ballistic missile defence site in Poland should be operational this year and the US nuclear posture and plans to deal with Russia’s offensive capabilities are clear signals that deterrence is on top of the list for the priorities by the United States,» Vaidas Saldžiūnas, a renown Lithuanian defence analyst, told BNN.

He, however, admitted that the current Baltic defence capacities and those by the NATO do not allow to «100 per cent» defend infrastructure of the fixed Baltic sites, like the airports, ammunition depos, military bases and objects of the kind.

Asked whether the US and the NATO should have by now stationed an anti-ballistic missile system in the Baltics, Saldžiūnas reasoned that even with such a system on the ground, its ability to take down a launched Iskander missile could be «a difficult task.»

«More productive is to threaten Iskanders, so they are not launched. This is in the first place,» the expert emphasised.

It is clear, however, that in the next NATO Summit to be held on July 11-12, 2018, in Brussels, Belgium, the issue of the Iskander missile deployment in Kaliningrad will be talked up to the core.

«I have no doubts that Lithuania along the other Baltic States will arrive at the NATO summit with request to address the situation. I reckon that one way of the solution would be deployment of a missile defence system in the region. I mean in such a way that the Iskander threat is minimised,» Anušauskas told BNN.

In another development this week, Lithuania’s Defence ministry rolled outto the parliamentary National Security and Defence Committee a draft plan on universal conscription.

According to it, universal conscription of men and women, who had just graduated high schools, to Lithuania’s Armed Forces would require about 1.5 billion euros.

The earliest date of universal conscription could be 2024, if it is granted 105 million euros every year. Young men and women could be recruited from 2026, given that the preparations are earmarked 280 million euros every year.

However, a high-ranked source in the Lithuanian Ministry of Defence told BNN that there are «grave apprehensions» that the financial burden of universal conscription might be «too big» to Lithuania, which has approved an annual state budget of 9 billion euros for the year.

«Besides, with the significant increase in conscript numbers and with no respective facilities to accommodate and train them, the quality of military apprenticeship can suffer. Also we need to consider  the foreseen length of conscription, for nine months. I reckon it is just too a short time to train conscripts properly,» the senior ministry officer said.

Partial conscription was reintroduced in Lithuania in 2015 in response to Russia’s actions in Ukraine. The plan for this year is to draft 3,800 conscripts, which is a rise by 300 young people from 2017.

This year, Lithuania, for the first time, has earmarked2 percent of the gross domestic product (GDP) for defence, which totals at 873 million euros.

Ref: 020/111.111.111.5618


Leave a reply

PUC commences dispute between AS Gaso and natural gas consumer

On Friday, 16 November, Public Utilities Commission decided to commence a dispute procedure between a natural gas consumer and AS Gaso in regards to natural gas supplies, as confirmed by the commission.

Latvian parties continue informal talks while next prime minister is being picked

While President Raimonds Vējonis is busy picking the next prime minister candidate, politicians of different parties are performing informal consultations. No official consultations are currently planned.

UN's global migration compact stirs up Estonia's calm politics

The Estonian government has taken a long time to reach a unanimous position on the United Nation's Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration. This has been criticised by Estonian President Kersti Kaljulaid, who has to attend a conference in favour of the document in Morocco in December.

Latvian authorities detain CityCommerce Bank co-owner accused of embezzlement

Reinis Tumovs, co-owner of Ukrainian CityCommerce Bank, has been detained in Latvia. He is suspected of embezzling nearly UAH 300 million (EUR 9.5 million), as confirmed by Ukrainian National Police Economy Protection Department on Thursday, 15 November.

Russia ordered to pay damages for Navalny's political arrests by human rights court

Russia has been ordered by the European Court of Human Rights to repay 64 000 euros in damages and costs for politically-motivated arrests of Russian anti-corruption activist Alexei Navalny.

Latvian president to consider Gobzems and Pabriks as perspective prime minister candidates

As parties’ efforts to form a new government continue, Latvia’s President Raimonds Vējonis plans to consider two new prime minister candidates – KPV LV leader Aldis Gobzems and Attīstībai/Par! candidate Artis Pabriks.

EC wants to reduce funding for supplies of fruits, vegetables and milk to schools

European Commission’s proposed regulation on organization of agriculture products market provides for reducing EU funding for the support programme on provision of fruits, vegetables and milk for schools by EUR 29.2 million or the same as United Kingdom’s share.

Genocide verdicts handed to Khmer Rouge leaders in Cambodia

In Cambodia, the two most senior living leaders of the Khmer Rouge Communist regime have been found guilty of their role in the atrocities that resulted in the deaths of at least 1.7 million in Cambodia between 1977 and 1979.

Latvian parties pick candidates to work in Saeima committees

Parties elected to the 13th Saeima have picked representatives to work in the parliament’s standing committees. Final decision will be made 20 November. Harmony may be represented by deputies Nikolajs Kabanovs and Jānis Tutins in Saeima’s Foreign Affairs Committee. Attīstībai/Par! has picked Artis Pabriks, and Union of Greens and Farmers has picked Uldis Augulis.

EU leaders: No appetite for renegotiating Brexit deal

EU leaders have dismissed talk of renegotiating the draft Brexit deal and warned the UK's political situation could make a «no-deal» more likely.

Some rain expected for Latvia’s centenary; cold snap expected next week

The sky will become clear every now and then. Still, some rain is expected for the country’s centenary. Wet snow is expected in the country’s eastern regions. It will be dry in the country for the most part next week, as reported by Latvian State Environment, Geology and Meteorology Centre.

Latvian ministry plans to form Media Ethics Council and develop Latvian Media Ethics Code

Culture Ministry has proposed forming Media Ethics Council. The majority of institutions of the media industry have started working on a self-regulatory council and development of a Single Latvian Media Ethics Code, as reported by the ministry’s public relations office manager Lita Kokale.

Harmony picks representatives in Saeima’s committees

Nikolajs Kabanovs and Jānis Tutins may become Harmony’s representatives in Saeima’s Foreign Affairs Committee, whereas Valērijs Agešins may become the party’s representative in the National Security Committee.

Lithuania’s corruption buster: firms donating to hospitals stand better chance in tenders

The majority of the winners of the tenders organised by major Lithuanian hospitals have expressed their gratitude to the health providers by making donations to them in the form of financial support.

Employment level in Latvia reached 65.3% in Q3 2018

920.1 thousand people or 65.3 % of Latvia population aged 15–74 were employed in Q3 2018. Over the year, employment rate grew by 1.7 percentage points and number of employed persons by 17.2 thousand.

Unemployment level in Latvia was 7% in Q3 2018

In Q3 2018 Latvian unemployment rate constituted 7.0 %. Compared to the previous quarter, unemployment rate fell by 0.7 percentage points, while over the year by 1.5 percentage points.

AS PKL Flote enforces EUR 1.35 million from Riga Freeport authority in court

The Department of Civil Cases of the Supreme Court has ruled that the verdict of Riga Regional Court – one that penalized Riga Freeport authority for breach of Competition Law against PKL Flote – was correct. Now Riga Freeport has ten days, starting with 13 November, to pay the company EUR 1.35 million to cover damages caused by this violation, BNN was told by PKL Flote board chairman Sergejs Odincovs.

British government loses two more members; EU sets date for Brexit summit

In the UK government, Brexit minister Dominic Raab and Northern Ireland's junior minister have resigned in disagreement with the country's draft withdrawal agreement with the EU, already passed by the government.

Saeima deputy: data protection regulation will not protect «KGB associates»

Documents detailing KGB workers’ names, nationality, work place, participation in the Communist party are not covered by the Personal Data Protection Regulation, stresses Saeima deputy Ritvars Jansons from the National Alliance ‘All for Latvia’ – ‘For Fatherland and Freedom/LNNK’.

EP: Moldova and Georgia should continue initiated reforms

Members of the European Parliament welcome the reforms Georgia has commenced. At the same time, Moldova was criticized for its worsened state of democracy and rule of law, as reported by EP press-secretary in Latvia Signe Znotiņa-Znota.

Germany economy shrinks for first time in three years

Germany economy has contracted by 0.2% in the third quarter of 2018, a first such result in the largest economy of the European Union in over three years.

Latvian president gives parties holiday break to continue talks

Latvian President Raimonds Vējonis calls off nomination of NCP candidate Jānis Bordāns to for government. Talks regarding the next prime minister candidate will continue after the state holiday.

Ireland satisfied with Brexit draft deal in every priority

The government of Ireland has stated that draft withdrawal agreement between Irish neighbour, the UK, and the European Union, Dublin had achieved a satisfying result in all its priorities, also regarding the border on the island of Ireland.

Bordāns: NCP will not support Pabriks’ government because KPV LV will not support it either

If the President of Latvia decides to nominate Attīstībai/Par! member Artis Pabriks, KPV LV will not work in this government. New Conservative Party would take the same position, according to what politicians told Tieša runa programme of LTV.

British government supports draft Brexit deal

British Prime Minister Theresa May received the support of her government on the draft Brexit agreement the UK has reached with the European Union, which would see the UK remain in the EU customs union until the end of 2020.

Newest comments

What would you wish Latvia for its centenary?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...

Polls Archive



Category feed: Feed: