UPADTE – In response to news that Patriot missiles will be located not far from the Russian border, Moscow has vowed to strengthen its Baltic Fleet.
“The surface, underwater and aviation elements of the Baltic Fleet will be strengthened,” Russian news agency RIA Novosti quoted an unidentified Russian navy official as saying. He added that the fleet will be enhanced by new corvette class warships with long-range high-precision cruise missiles.
Russia’s statement comes a day after Poland announced its plans to deploy US Patriot missiles in Morag, 100 km from the Russian border.
The Ministry of Defence assured Wednesday that Morag, a town situated 100 km away from the Kaliningrad Russian border, was chosen to host Patriot missiles and an American military base because it had good conditions to house the barracks and technology.
“Logistic and technical reasons were crucial,” Janusz Sejmej from the Defence Ministry told private radio station RMF FM. “There were no considerations here of a strategic nature,” confirmed Defence Minister Bogdan Klich in an interview for the daily Gazeta Wyborcza.
However, Pavel Felgengauer, a Russian military analyst said that placing the Patriots near the Russian border is could be construed as an unfriendly gesture and will certainly come under sharp criticism from the Kremlin. “The appearance of American soldiers in Russia’s vicinity will be a nail in a coffin in US-Russia relations,” said Felgengauer.
The Patriot missile battery will contain four to eight missiles and will be operated by 100 American soldiers redeployed from a base in Germany. (mg)