Political scientist: Russia trying to impress US by relocating Iskander missiles
Just like other foreign policy moves made by Russia lately, the deployment of Iskander missile systems to its Kaliningrad region is meant first and foremost to make an impression on the US, Estonian political scientist Karmo Tüür found.
"The news of Iskander-M missiles being shipped to the Kaliningrad region has of course an extremely disconcerting effect on the Baltic countries and Poland, yet this move was not made to scare us," Tüür, an expert at the Estonian Foreign Policy Institute, explained to BNS on Monday. "To discourage the Baltic countries and Finland, constant and continuing airspace violations should be enough to demonstrate one's irresponsible position of strength."
According to Tüür, Russia is now taking advantage of the opportunity offered by the US being busy.
"Most of the efforts being made by Russia in foreign policy are meant to make an impression on the US," Tüür explained. "Moscow's success in fulfilling its wish to assume a place worthy of it can be measured via confrontation with its main rival from the Cold War." The best indication of this, he added, was the wish to reopen bases in Vietnam and Cuba.
"Taking anti-aircraft missiles to Syria is another step from the same series," noted Tüür, pointing out that these missiles were definitely not needed to fight the Islamic State group, or Daesh, as the latter has no air force of its own.
"The present moment provides Russia with an excellent opportunity to assert itself — it can simultaneously humiliate the sitting president [of the US] and send a message to the next one," explained the Estonian political scientist. "If we look at things through the eyes of the decision-makers in Moscow, missing a chance like this would be a sin."
On Saturday, the Russian Ministry of Defence confirmed the deployment of Iskander-M missile systems to the Baltic Sea exclave of Kaliningrad, located between Poland and Lithuania.
The Russian militry did not make a big secret of transporting Iskander missle systems to the Kaliningrad region on board the bulker Ambal in order to clarify the parameters of a US reconnaissance satellite's operations, Russian Defence Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov said.
ERR's online news portal reported on Friday that, according to a government source known to them, the Russian Baltic Fleet was moving an Iskander-M missile system from Ust-Luga to Kaliningrad on a civilian vessel called the Ambal.