Russian Iskander Missiles Coming Close to Europe To Counter Patriot Systems

Moldavia asked Russian President Dmitry Medvedev to create a defense system in the Transdniestr region as a response to the plans of the US administration to deploy elements of missile defense system in Eastern Europe. As a result, Transdniestria might get Russian Iskander missile complexes, Nezavisimaya Gazeta reports.

Tiraspol (the capital of Transdniestira) has already sent the request to Moscow, the newspaper wrote. Igor Smirnov, the head of the unrecognized republic of Transdniestria, is hoping that Russia’s actions will fully comply with the promises given by Medvedev at their meeting in Sochi in 2009. Namely, Medvedev promised that Russia would protect its 150,000 citizens residing in Transdniestria.

Earlier, Igor Smirnov asked Russian officials to increase peacekeeping forces in the region to two thousand officers from five hundred located there now. He based his request on the right of the Russian president delegated to him by the Parliament to send Russian troops to other countries, should the circumstances require. A member of Chisinau city council believes that missile defense system on the boarder poses an obvious threat to the safety of Moldavian residents. Besides, the officials of the region are concerned that Moldavian officials would use Romania’s support to oppress the unrecognized republic.

According to Klimenko, now it has to be more than just peacemaking forces. “As far as I know, Transdniestria has already addressed Russia with a request to take measures and protect the region from new threats. We are talking about creating a military system."

Arcady Barbarosh, director of Moldavian Institute for Public Policy, considers this situation the beginning of the new “ice age” in the relations between Tiraspol and Chisinau. The more Chisinau requires withdrawal of Russian troops from the region, the more persistent Transdniestria is in its requests to leave the troops there.

He also highlights the fact that the issue of locating missile defense system in Romania has not been solved yet and it is too early to use it as a basis for political decisions. Besides, the situation can be influenced by Ukraine. “All supplies to Transdniestria will have to be coordinated with Ukraine. I do not think that Ukraine will agree to it, even considering Yanukovych’s good relations with Moscow. Being the leader of opposition and being the president are two different things," he said.

Ukrainian officials are not holding out either. According to a Ukrainian lawmaker Vasili Khara (Regions Party), the country’s territory is in the risk zone because of Romania’s actions. “They simply provoke flights of the opposing parties’ rockets above our heads.” He emphasized that the new leaders of the country would stand by the national interests in all areas of foreign policy.

Ukraine has no intentions of leaving its 100,000 citizens in Transdniestria without help. “We are very well informed on what is going on there, and if we have to, we will be able to protect the interests and safety of our people residing there,” said Khara.

Transdniestria’s officials are hoping that the help of Ukraine and Russia would not be mutually exclusive. Tiraspol expects that new Ukraine’s officials would not oppose the increase of Russian presence in the region.

These discussions were motivated by the US’s statement made in the beginning of February. According to the statement, elements of American missile defense system will take on duty in Romania by 2015.

Romania has announced its decision to accept interceptors SM-3. This is a reflection of Washington’s strategy in terms of the development and growth of architecture designed to protect the entire Europe, Philip J. Crowley, Assistant Secretary with the Bureau of Public Affairs, stated at the State Department briefing.

He said that Romania’s decision expands missile defense to the south of Europe. He added that the US continues negotiations with other countries regarding the new architecture of the missile defense system. Mr. Crowley also noted that Poland was still in talks for a "northern land-based" missile site. "That development is still under consideration and discussion with Poland," he said.

Bulgaria is also planning to locate missile defense system on its territory. Sergey Lavrov, head of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs stated that Russia expected detailed explanations regarding Bulgaria’s intentions. “Why is the Romanian surprise followed by a Bulgarian one?” he said.

The Minister said that he was promised explanations. First of all, Russia is negotiating with the USA. He emphasized that the American partners claim that this is a modification of the European missile defense system, i.e., modification of the statements made by Obama in regard with changing the missile defense system plans in Europe.

Nezavisimaya Gazeta

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Author`s name Dmitry Sudakov