Missiles in Kaliningrad – First Testing for Obama

Politics Materials 7 November 2008 19:35 (UTC +04:00)

Azerbaijan, Baku, 7 November /corr. Trend E.Ostapenko / Decision of Russia to establish missiles in Kaliningrad region is a way of pressure and inspection of solidity of the Administration of the newly elected U.S. President Barack Obama, experts consider. 

"The announcement is mainly a way of putting pressure on and testing Barack Obama," Antonio Missiroli, European expert on international security, said. It is, in other words, a bargaining chip Moscow thinks it can use, he said.

In his speech before the federal meeting, the President of Russia Dmitry Medvedev threatened to place in Kaliningrad region the missile complexes of "Iskander" and radar stations called to "stun" American radars in the Czech Republic in response to the deployment of American anti-missile system in Europe.

Experts are surprised by such aggressive position of Russia in foreign policy precisely now, when in the Czech Republic doubts about the need for the missile panel of the USA are strong.

"Instead of emphasizing the positive elements of Obama's election - that marks the end of the Bush 'era' - he indulged in Cold War rhetoric and threats," Missiroli, Director of Studies of the Belgian-based European Policy Centre, told Trend via e-mail.

This is senseless provocation firstly aimed at strengthening confrontation between Russia and West, Pavel Felgengauer, Russian military expert told Trend by telephone from Moscow.

Aiming missiles at Europe will be thoughtless both from the military and political point of view, he said, explaining that such cruise missiles must be established in the air carriers, but not on the earth.

The intention of Russia to place missile complexes and radars in Kaliningrad region can entail the reaction of the USA.

The United States could response in two ways, American military experts consider.

The USA could respond with an equal amount of posturing and make the situation even more antagonistic, Victoria Samson, American military analyst, told Trend via e-mail.

"We could use this as a place to restart dialogue and extract tangible commitments from the Russians regarding security measures before changing anything about plans for missile defense in Europe," she said.

However, other American expert on ballistic missile defense, Baker Spring, expect the Obama Administration to support the completion of the agreement to field the missile defense facilities in Europe, but to repackage them under greater NATO and particularly EU auspices

The position of Russia can also influence the continuation of the negotiations between Russia and European Union regarding signing of the new European Security Pact.

The discussions over the new European Security Pact, proposed by the Russian President, will become the basic theme of the summit Russia - European Union in Nice scheduled for mid November. This Pact must replace previous one, which expired in November of last year.

There are opposite points of view in the negotiations of Russia with the European Union due to the influence of "Iskander" missiles in Kaliningrad.

Missiroli, author of publication "Between EU and US: reassessing security and peace-building", pessimistically sees the development of the situation. In fact, the proposed European Security Pact would be instantly 'killed' if the plan was put in place for real, he said.  

Russian expert Felgengauer demonstrates liberal position, considering that Medvedev's decision will not cardinally change the relations between Russia and EU and will not block the talks, since "Iskander" missiles do not present threats for Europe.   

Only true fried of the Prime Minister of Russia, Vladimir Putin, and the only European leader who always supports Russia, Berlusconi is optimistic.

"Currently I see no barriers in the way of reaching the signing of an agreement on partnership and co-operation, which is absolutely positive both for the European Union and for Russia," Berlusconi said to press conference on Thursday as a result of Russian-Italian inter-state consultations, RIA Novosti reported.

V.Zhavoronkova and E.Tariverdiyeva participated in the preparation of the material.

The correspondent can be contacted at: [email protected]