The movement of Russian missiles to the eastern European border, in protest of a planned U.S. missile shield, is raising concerns over possible miscalculation between Moscow and Washington.
"Our aircraft every day are encountering each other in the North Sea and along the Baltics and other places. There can be no room for miscalculation," NATO Supreme Allied Commander Air Force Gen. Phillip Breedlove said, regarding growing U.S.-Russian tensions in eastern Europe.
Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel sought to tamp down such concerns during a recent discussion with Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu.
Hagel stressed U.S. and NATO missile defense efforts in Europe “pose no threat to Russia," according to a Pentagon readout of the video teleconference.
Moscow has positioned a number of its nuclear-capable, long-range missiles to areas near the Russian-European border, in a show of force against the planned U.S. missile shield in the region.
Some of those nuclear missile batteries, known as the Iskander missile system, have been sent to Russia's "Western Military District," comprised of former Soviet satellite states that have since joined the European Union.
But more than half of the Iskander missiles have been stationed in Kaliningrad, the Russian territory that abuts Poland along the Baltic Sea, according to AFP.
Poland and Romania are the first of several sites the Obama White House is eying for a series of sea and land-based ballistic missile interceptors for Eastern Europe.
That said, advanced versions of the Iskander missile have an operational range of over 300 miles, long enough to possibly target and take out pieces of the U.S. missile shield located near Russia's border with Europe.