Russia moves hypersonic missiles to its westernmost Baltic region: report

Russia on Thursday announced that it has deployed aircraft armed with hypersonic missiles to its westernmost region along the Baltic Sea, The Associated Press reported

Moscow’s Defense Ministry said three MiG-31 fighters and Kinzhal hypersonic missiles arrived at the Chkalovsk air base in Kaliningrad, the capital of the Russian province of the same name which sits between Poland and Lithuania along the Baltic coast.  

The armaments were moved to the region as part of “additional measures of strategic deterrence,” with the warplanes to be on round-the-clock alert, the Defense Ministry said, as reported by the AP. 

A video released by the Russian military showed the MiG-31s arriving in Kaliningrad but not holding missiles, thought to be delivered separately. 

The Kinzhal missiles — which Moscow has used to strike several targets in Ukraine already — have a range of up to roughly 1,250 miles and can fly at 10 times the speed of sound, according to Russian officials.  

The weapons’ movement to Kaliningrad comes as Russia continues its nearly six-month attack on Ukraine, though its forces struggle to make any major gains in recent weeks as it focuses on the eastern part of the country. 

The deployment also appears to send a message to NATO as the Russian province is sandwiched between alliance members Poland and Lithuania, where U.S. troops are currently deployed should the war in Ukraine threaten to spill across borders. 

The U.S. and NATO have also shipped billions of dollars worth of weapons to help Ukraine beat back Kremlin forces, help that Moscow has strongly criticized as overstepping boundaries. 

“The events in Ukraine demonstrated that a clash with the collective West is a real possibility,” Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Ivan Nechayev said Thursday, according to the AP, but stressed that a “direct confrontation with the U.S. and NATO isn’t in our interests.” 

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