Image Credits: James Vaughan / Flickr.
Russia has begun moving nuclear-capable missiles into Europe after America threatened to shoot down Russian planes over Syria, greatly raising the risk of all-out war.
Russian military appears to be moving nuclear-capable Iskander-M missiles from Saint Petersburg to Kaliningrad, a Russian enclave situated between NATO members Lithuania and Poland, according to sources inside Estonia.
The Iskander-M, which can fire a nuclear-armed missile over 300 miles away, is reportedly being transferred to Kaliningrad by ship approximately two years ahead of its previously scheduled deployment to the enclave.
In addition to its military deployments in Kaliningrad, Russia has deployed the S-300 and S-400 anti-aircraft missile systems to Syria after the Obama administration indicated covert air strikes on Syrian government forces are being considered to stop their advances in Aleppo.
“The options under consideration, which remain classified, include bombing Syrian air force runways using cruise missiles and other long-range weapons fired from coalition planes and ships,” an administration official told the Washington Post.
Russian Defense Ministry spokesperson General Igor Konashenkov said “any missile or air strikes on the territory controlled by the Syrian government will create a clear threat to Russian servicemen.”
“And all the illusions of amateurs about the existence of ‘invisible’ jets will face a disappointing reality,” he added, referring to claims by the United States that Russian air defense systems are incapable of targeting American stealth aircraft.
In another sign of increasing tensions, the Russian embassy in Washington posted a photo of White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest and a S-300 missile system on Twitter with a caption noting Russia will use “every defensive measure necessary” to defend its military personnel in Syria.
Russia’s military buildup comes after Army Chief of Staff General Mark Milley issued a thinly veiled warning that the United States was prepared to “destroy” its enemies.
“I want to be clear to those who wish to do us harm….the United States military – despite all of our challenges, despite our [operational] tempo, despite everything we have been doing – we will stop you and we will beat you harder than you have ever been beaten before. Make no mistake about that,” Milley said.
Milley suggested the next major conflict would be “highly lethal, unlike anything our Army has experienced at least since World War II.”