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Amid NATO tensions, Russia tests anti-missile system

Sheetal Sukhija - Tuesday 13th February, 2018

MOSCOW, Russia - In a bid to prevent any incoming threats, the Russian military said that it had tested a new anti-missile rocket.

The military said that the test of interceptor missiles for the A-135 Anti-Ballistic Missile system were conducted at the Sary-Shagan site in Kazakhstan and were designed to help protect Moscow from any incoming threats.

Announcing the successful tests, the deputy commander of the Air and Space Defense Alliance, Andrei Prikhodko, said in a statement that the upgraded air defense missiles are capable of intercepting single and multiple strikes, including new generation intercontinental ballistic missiles.

Prikhodko said, "We have successfully test-fired a new upgraded air defense missile. The missile’s tactical and technical characteristics regarding the range, precision and operational lifetime are significantly higher compared to present-day weapons."

According to a report in the Russian news agency, Sputnik News, the new missiles will be added to the existing anti-ballistic missile system that became operational in 1995 and is run by the Russian Aerospace Forces.

The report noted that the tests of the defense system came a week after Lithuania's president said that Russia has deployed additional nuclear-capable missiles in its Baltic Sea exclave of Kaliningrad on a permanent basis.

The president called the missiles a threat to Europe.

The President of Lithuania Dalia Grybauskaite addressed reporters after visiting NATO troops in the central Lithuanian town of Rukla and said that "Iskander missiles are being stationed in Kaliningrad for permanent presence as we speak." 

She called it a threat not only to Lithuania but to "half of all European countries."

According to the military, the high-precision Iskander missiles deployed in Kaliningrad can be fitted with a conventional or a nuclear warhead.

It has a range of up to 500 310 miles and has been deployed in an area that has previously been utilized by Moscow to conduct military drills.

Meanwhile, Vladimir Shamanov, the head of the Russian parliament's defense committee confirmed the missiles' deployment and added the move was a response to a NATO buildup near Russia's borders.

Moscow is also increasingly worried about the number of U.S. weapons in Poland.

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