Russia is planning to install Iskander surface missiles in Syria and its Baltic enclave of Kaliningrad, in a response to United States missile interceptors in Poland and U.S.-Israeli military aid to Georgia, an Israeli news agency reported on Monday.
Moscow seems to be eying Poland, the Middle East, and possibly Ukraine, as the main arenas for its reprisals, as Russia is reported to plan arming warships, submarines and long-range bombers in the Baltic and Middle East with nuclear warheads, DEBKAfile reported.
The plan includes the establishment of big Russian military, naval and air bases in Syria and the release of advanced weapons systems withheld until now to Iran, with the S-300 air-missile defense system, and the nuclear-capable Iskander to Syria.
Shortly before the Georgian conflict flared, Moscow promised Washington not to let Iran and Syria have these sophisticated pieces of hardware.
The Iskander's cruise attributes make its launch and trajectory extremely hard to detect and intercept. If this missile reaches Syria, Israel will have to revamp its anti-missile defense array and Air Force assault plans for the third time in two years, as it constitutes a threat which transcends all its defensive red lines.
Moscow's military planners know this and are therefore considering new sea and air bases in Syria as sites for the Iskander missiles, DEBKAfile reported. Russia would thus keep the missiles under its hand and make sure they were not transferred to Iran, it added.
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad will be invited to Moscow soon to finalize these plans in detail, according to the report.
Military spokesmen in Moscow also said at the weekend that Russian military planners started redesigning the nation’s strategic plans as a fitting response to the U.S. decision to install 10 missile interceptors in Poland and over the recent clashes in Georgia, DEBKAfile reported.