Germany says worried about Russian missiles in Kaliningrad
Sabine Siebold, Andrea Shalal, Reuters, Mar 8 2017
A decision by Russia to permanently station Iskander missiles in the Blatin enclave of Kaliningrad would mark a setback for European security, German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel told Interfax on Wednesday. Russia said in October it had moved the nuclear-capable ballistic missiles to Kaliningrad, along with a S-400 system to defend them. It said the deployment was part of routine drills, but Gabriel said:
If Iskander missiles were stationed in Kaliningrad permanently, that would be a cause for great concern and a blow to European security. That is why we are watching what’s happening in Kaliningrad very carefully.
Gabriel traveled to Moscow late on Wednesday after meeting with the Polish foreign minister in Warsaw. Last week, Gabriel visited Lithuania, which borders Kaliningrad, and vowed to keep German troops in the region for as long as needed. Lithuania said in January it planned to build a 2m wire fence along its border with Russia. In the Interfax interview, Gabriel rejected Russian criticism of NATO’s deployment of 4,000 troops to Poland and the Baltic states, including 400 German soldiers in Lithuania, saying:
Germany and other NATO states were not the first to go into the Baltic area. The number of German troops in the region is miniscule compared with the massive Russian build-up.