Russian military holds missile exercise near western border

AP News
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Posted: Oct 20, 2016 8:15 AM

MOSCOW (AP) — The Russian military has conducted drills involving state-of-the art missiles near the nation's western border, amid tensions in relations with the West.

The Defense Ministry said Thursday that the drills involved Iskander-M missiles. The war games were held at a shooting range near the city of Luga, about 100 kilometers (60 miles) east of the border with Estonia.

According to the military, the exercise featured the deployment of missiles and preparations for firing them, but didn't involve actual launches.

Iskander has a range of up to 500 kilometers (310 miles) and high precision, allowing it to target facilities in several NATO member nations neighboring Russia. It can be fitted with a conventional or a nuclear warhead.

Moscow has complained strongly against the deployment of NATO's forces near Russia's borders and promised to take countermeasures.

Earlier this month, the deployment of Iskander missiles to the westernmost Kaliningrad region has worried Russia's neighbors. The Russian military said the move was part of regular training.

The military has increased the number and the scale of its drills amid Russia-West tensions fueled by the Ukrainian crisis and the Syrian war.

In another exercise, the military's Strategic Missile Forces had a 100-ton truck-mounted intercontinental ballistic missile cross a river in western Russia. The drills involving the Yars intercontinental ballistic missile was intended to practice its mobility.