The Russian army began moving components of its S-300 long-range surface-to-air missile (SAM) systems from Gvardeysk to Baltiysk, westernmost town in Russia.
In a series of posts on Twitter on 22 March, military blogger Petri Mäkelä reported that Russian Defense Forces has deployed S-300 systems at the westernmost point of the enclave of Kaliningrad, near the border with Poland.
“Russia has deployed and dispersed S-300 SAM units from Gvardeysk to Baltiysk, presumably to cover better the Baltic Fleet assets,” said Petri Mäkelä.
Deployment of S-300 air defense systems come against the backdrop of rising tensions with the United States.
The US Air Force activated its B-52H bombers training flights and has repeatedly approached the Russian border in the Baltic region.
The strategic bombers, part of the Bomber Task Force currently deployed to the U.S. European Command area of responsibility, are from the 2nd Bomb Wing, Barksdale Air Force Base, Louisiana. The aircraft arrived in theater on March 14-15 and are temporarily operating out of RAF Fairford. The deployment of strategic bombers to the U.K. helps exercise RAF Fairford as the U.S. Air Forces in Europe’s forward training location for bombers.
B-52 bombers conduct flights to several places in Europe, including to the Norwegian Sea, the Baltic Sea.
NATO spokesperson Oana Lungescu said: “This is a routine deployment, but it shows that the US nuclear umbrella protects Europe and demonstrates the unique capabilities the US could bring to Europe in a crisis. The B-52 deployment is yet another sign that the United States is strongly committed to NATO”.
The Kremlin has repeatedly censured what it perceives as mounting anti-Russia hysteria and Russophobia in Europe, and calls NATO’s military buildup at its doorstep a threat to its national security.
— Petri Mäkelä (@pmakela1) 22 March 2019