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Russia deploys anti-ship missile system near Norway border

By Nicholas Sakelaris
Russia deploys anti-ship missile system near Norway border
Russia deployed an anti-ship missile system near the border with Norway and Finland. Photo by Maxim Shipenkov/EPA-EFE

Aug. 8 (UPI) -- A Russian coastal anti-ship missile system was moved to a new location on the Sredny Peninsula late Wednesday, a short distance from its border with Norway and Finland on the Barents Sea.

More than 60 military personnel and 15 units of military hardware were moved into the new position on the Barents coast, Russia's Northern Fleet said. Moscow plans firing exercises with the Bal coastal missile system this fall.

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The system is armed with Kh-35 supersonic cruise anti-ship missiles, which each boast a 145-kilogram warhead.

While primarily an anti-ship system, it can also be used against land targets. The deployed equipment is now located about 40 miles from Kirkenes, Norway.

"Personnel will work to prepare the Bal complexes for firing at surface targets, and will conduct a missile strike against a group of imitation enemy ships," the fleet said.

The move could be a response to the new Globus radar Norway is building in Vardo. Experts say Russians view the radar, operated by Norway's intelligence service, as a threat.

"It seems obvious to me that military preparations near Russian or any other borders cannot be ignored by our or other countries," Russian Foreign Minister Maria Zakharova said in May. "We presume that we will take response measures to ensure our own security."

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The movement follows the official termination last week of the 32-year-old Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty between Russia and the United States, which barred intermediate-range ground-based missiles.

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