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Oct 16, 2016
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Duma Defense Committee Chairman: Direct U.S.-Russian Confrontation Likely; Iskander Missiles Target European Missile Defense

#5722 | 02:32

General Colonel (res.) Vladimir Shamanov, former Chief Commander of the Paratrooper Forces and the current chairman of the Defense and Security Committee of the State Duma, said, in a first TV interview in this capacity, that there is a high probability of a direct confrontation between the U.S. and Russia in Syria. He further said that Iskander tactical ballistic missiles recently deployed in the Kaliningrad region are targeting American-European missile defense facilities. Shamanov was speaking on the Saturday news broadcast on Russia 1 TV on October 17.


Following are excerpts



Interviewer: Given the American threats to use weapons against Syrian government forces, and the presence of Russian anti-aircraft defense systems in two bases, does this mean a direct Russian-American confrontation?



Vladimir Shamanov: Taking into account the recent tendency to exacerbate the crisis, the probability of [a direct confrontation] is higher. We have our own goals and commitments in [Syria]. We are there by official invitation of the legitimate government and president. We suggested to the Americans that we coordinate our efforts, but they categorically rejected this. This means that the exacerbation of the hysteria is deliberate, and leads to further escalation.






Interviewer: On Saturday, the Russian military authorities confirmed the deployment of Iskander [tactical missiles] in the Kaliningrad region. This caused an uproar in the Baltic states. What are the implications? How does this change the balance of power?



Vladimir Shamanov: This is a highly effective weapon, which is in keeping with the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty.






Interviewer: But Iskander missiles may be equipped with conventional or nuclear warheads...



Vladimir Shamanov: Let's not talk about nuclear [warheads], but when it comes to conventional [warheads], they are heavier warheads, with exceptionally high precision. As the artillery specialists say, it's about hitting a stick [from a distance].





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