Russia ready to deploy Iskander missiles any time says Army Chief

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Moscow, Nov 19 (UNI) Chief of the General Staff of the Armed Forces Russia Gen Nikolai Makarov today said the country was ready to deploy Iskander missile systems in its Kaliningrad Region any time to neutralise the proposed US missile defence system in Central Europe.

'' As soon as the final decision is made by our supreme commander-in-chief, these missile systems will be deployed, wherever it is ordered,'' RIA Novosti news agency quoted Mr Makarov as saying.

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev recently said Moscosw would deploy Iskander-M systems (SS-26 Stone) with a range of 500 km in the Kaliningrad region to "neutralise if necessary" the proposed US missile defence system in Central Europe.

The speaker of the State Duma (lower house of Russian Parliament), Mr Boris Gryzlov , meanwhile, said this was a response measure and Moscow would not deploy its Iskander missiles until Washington started its deployment of missile defence shield in Central Europe.

'' This is a response measure. The deployment will not start before the construction of a launcher in Poland and a radar in the Czech Republic starts. Our neighbours in Europe should realise that," Mr Gryzlov said.

Mr Gryzlov yesterday said that he had discussed the problem with the Czech Parliament speaker, who had decided to postpone the legislature's discussion of an agreement on the radar base "at least until late January".

He said the delay "inspires a certain optimism". The new Iskander missiles had only been subject to test-firing.

Although the tests were reported to be successful, some experts believed that it would be impossible to set up the five proposed Iskander brigades in Kaliningrad region over the next four or five years due to a lack of production capacity.

UNI XC GT RK2300

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