Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said on Wednesday in his first state of the nation address to parliament that Russia would deploy short-range Iskander missile systems in its exclave of Kaliningrad "to neutralize if necessary the anti-ballistic missile system in Europe."
"The deployment of Iskander missile systems with a range of 500 km (310 miles) [in the Kaliningrad region] would allow Russia to target the entire territory of Poland and also parts of Germany and the Czech Republic," said Anatoly Tsyganok, head of the Moscow-based Military Forecast Center.
The Iskander-M tactical system is equipped with high-precision SS-26 Stone 'quasiballistic' missiles reportedly capable of carrying multiple conventional and nuclear warheads.
"We could have deployed either strategic bombers or silo-based ballistic missiles in response to the U.S. missile shield in Europe. However, Iskander is the best solution both from an economic and a military standpoint," Tsyganok said.
Moscow has repeatedly expressed its opposition to Washington's plans to place 10 interceptor missiles in Poland and an accompanying radar in the Czech Republic, saying they threaten Russia's national security.
The United States claims the new bases are needed to counter missile attacks by "rogue states" such as Iran.
The U.S. signed deals on the missile shield with Warsaw and Prague during the summer. Polish and Czech lawmakers have yet to ratify the agreements.
Russian officials earlier said Moscow could deploy its Iskander tactical missiles and strategic bombers in Belarus, and warned that Russia could target its missiles at Poland.