Russia’s transfer of nuclear-capable missiles to its western outpost of Kaliningrad this month was an aggressive move against the whole of Europe, Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaite said on Tuesday.
The presence of Iskander-M missiles in the Kaliningrad enclave between NATO members Lithuania and Poland means the western military alliance should seek greater security cooperation with non-members Sweden and Finland, she said.
Russia has said the transfer of the missiles was part of routine drills. Some modifications of the Iskander can hit targets 700 km (450 miles) away.
Russia and NATO are both building up their military capability across eastern Europe, spurred by the conflict in Ukraine which has prompted officials on both sides to talk of the risk of a new, Cold War-style confrontation.
“Knowing that Iskanders are not defense but offense equipment, that means an aggressive, open demonstration of power and aggression against not the Baltic states but against European capitals,” Grybauskaite said at a news conference after meeting her Finnish counterpart Sauli Niinisto.
“What is important today for all of us is to have deep comprehensive partnership with non-NATO members Finland and Sweden… What matters is not the memberships, but real cooperation,” she said.
NATO launched its first annual naval exercise with Finland last June.
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