US missile deployment makes Poland and Romania 'targets', says Russia

Poland and Romania have turned themselves into Russian targets in a potential conflict, by accepting Nato missile defence systems on their territory, according to Russia's state defence council.

Both Nato allied states are part of the ongoing eastern reinforcement strategy which will vastly improve the capabilities of former Soviet countries to resist Russian aggression like that seen in Ukraine. The reinforcement strategy will see a redeployment of Nato heavy weapons which will be stored in Eastern Europe and the construction of rapid response centres in six states to alert the alliance for any potential threats early.

Russia regards the build-up of Nato military equipment and installations, particularly from the US, as aggressive behaviour on its doorstep and and now the deputy head of the Russian Security Council Yevgeny Lukyanov has said that in taking on US missiles, Poland and Romania "automatically become [Russia's] targets".

Earlier this month Polish defence minister Tomasz Siemoniak said work was underway to build a Nato missile defence base near the Polish town of Redzikowo while Romania has officially inaugurated a Nato missile base near the town of Deveselu, due to become operational this fall.

"Redeployment of missile elements whose launch direction is effectively aimed at our strategic nuclear forces - that is a problem for them," Lukyanov told Russian news agency Interfax. "If they like being targets because of the US rearmament system, that is their choice."

"Whether they understand this position, [or] find it acceptable, whether it is the basis of their commitment in the alliance, I cannot comment," Lukyanov said.

Russia's security council is the official government advisory body on matters of national defence, chaired by Russian President Vladimir Putin, and whose members include the minister of defence, speaker of the parliament, prime minister and other defence officials.

Commenting on the general trend of Nato reinforcement near Russia, Lukyanov claimed that it was as a result of "unhealthy excitement" as opposed to constituting a real threat to Russia.

In response to the official's words, the Romanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs provided a translation of Romanian prime minister Victor Ponta's immediate response on Twitter.

"Romania cannot be intimidated by threats! The Missile Defense System is fundamental for the national and regional security," Ponta wrote.

Meanwhile a spokesperson for Poland's Ministry of National Defence refused to speculate on hypothetical scenarios as posed by Lukyanov, highlighting that "the Ministry of National Defence refers to the facts".

"Poland, as a full scale Nato member, belongs to the broader allied security system," the spokesperson said. "Taking into consideration the security situation of our country, we carefully observe [the] political and military situation in the region as well as monitor and evaluate potential threats."