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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Russian Missile Troops Test-Fire Iskander Systems During Military Drills

RIA Novosti

16:13 02/06/2014

MOSCOW, June 2 (RIA Novosti) – Russian armed forces are conducting a routine check of the military units in the country's Western Military District, equipped with long-range high-precision Iskander missiles, the Ministry of Defense stated Monday.

From May 27 to June 5, missile troops of the Western Military District will take part in the war games together with the Long-Range Aviation Command. The troops are equipped with tactical ballistic missile system Iskander-M and long-range aircraft.

The main objective of the exercise is to train to engage vital targets with high-precision missiles and test the level of preparedness of various control systems and equipment responsible for electronic warfare and intelligence gathering. The efficiency of targeting will be evaluated by unmanned aircraft.

The Ministry of Defense did not specify in which region the exercise was taking place. Earlier the Russian government mentioned a possibility of deploying Iskander missiles to the Kaliningrad region, a westernmost Russian enclave in Europe surrounded by Poland and Lithuania.

In December last year, Russian President Vladimir Putin noted that the decision about placing Iskander missiles in Kaliningrad had not yet been made, with Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov further explaining that "it's up to the military to decide when there's a need to deploy."

The discussion about the deployment of Iskander missiles resumed this year after NATO's statement about "unprecedented" activity of the US and NATO in Eastern Europe.

Russia's tactical ballistic missile system Iskander is one of the country's most powerful missiles stationed with the nation's ground forces. Iskander missiles are nuclear-capable and can make use of different types of reentry vehicles to engage a wide range of targets, from enemy military units to underground command centers.

Iskander systems were successfully tested in 2007. The Russian army currently uses its Iskander-M and Iskander-K variants. There is also an export version, dubbed Iskander-E, with just one rocket on the ballistic missile launcher instead of two and the range of up to 280 kilometers.

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