Russia yesterday said it did not understand the need for the anticipated deployment next month of U.S. Patriot missiles in Poland, the Xinhua News Agency reported (see GSN, April 22).
"We are concerned about the United States' absolutely unfounded antimissile activities in Poland," Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Andrei Nesterenko told reporters.
"It is not clear to us why Patriot antiaircraft and antimissile systems are being deployed near the Russian border," Nesterenko said, according to Interfax. "Nor have we an answer to the question about what threats will be tackled in the drill which will be held very close to Russia's Kaliningrad region."
Eight Patriot launchers and 100 U.S. military personnel are to be deployed in Morag, roughly 35 miles from the border of Russia's Kaliningrad territory. The launchers are separate from a broader U.S. proposed plan to build a European missile shield as a safeguard from possible missiles launched from Iran. Moscow has also expressed deep skepticism about that plan.
Warsaw said Morag was selected based on the infrastructure in the area and not because of any strategic importance.
"This sort of unilateral moves on the part of the United States cannot be left without attention," Nesterenko said.
Moscow continues to object to European nations taking part in missile defense exercises, the spokesman said (Xinhua News Agency, April 22).