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A map of the Russia-US anti-missile dispute

This beautiful map from Kommersant graphically demonstrates why Russia is concerned about the proposed US anti-missile system in Poland and the Czech republic.

If the US plan goes ahead as expected, high powered radars from Poland will be able to cover all of European Russia, and a good chunk of Siberia as well:

Russia anti missile map

At the same time, it illustrates just why Central/Eastern Europe is such a perfect site for this anti-missile system.

  • It’s directly in between any missiles that may be fired from Iran towards the US.
  • It’s almost directly in between any missiles that might head towards Western Europe.
  • It’s sufficiently far enough away to allow interceptors to be launched in good time.
  • It’s perfectly placed to mesh with US-based radars covering the Atlantic and Arctic oceans.
  • Oh yes – and it just happens to have a bonus feature allowing sneak peaks into Russian airspace…

(Hat tip: Cyrill Vatomsky, who posts his thoughts on the issue here).


  • Surely the US already has radar stations that can cover European Russia?

    Even though the map is from a Russian source, it seems to bolster the case that the proposed anti-missile system makes sense only as a response to Middle eastern threats and isn’t directed against Russia.

  • Hi, two underreported arguments against ABM:

    – No government in Washington, Brussels, or Moscow will ever let Iran develop nuclear weapons and the missiles to launch them; in fact, many American politicians running for president support the idea of nuclear bombing Iran to prevent it from acquiring nuclear/missile technology! And if the Washington doesn’t bomb it, then Tel Aviv will.

    Lavrov pointed out yesterday that proposing Azerbaijan as a site does not mean that Russia at all thinks Iran poses a reliable threat.

    – And in the purely hypothetical case that an unfriendly Middle East actor does acquire this weaponry; using it will simply be suicide.


    I read a piece last week how the reasons given for wanting ABM have changed through the years (like the reasons for invading Iraq changed). At first I think they specifically said Iran and North Korea. Now they’re saying rogue states, being ambiguous, in case Iran is taken out, there will still be validation.

  • I’m unsure how radar in Eastern Europe is an improvement over satellite reconnaissance and early warning systems.

    Iran’s most likely target, by their own words … would be Israel. They have that missile capability now, as opposed to some far-flung speculative future missile capability they might never achieve. The proposed system does nothing to prevent such attacks on that most likely and immediate target.

    Lastly, if Iran were ever to achieve ICBM capability, they would not be required to have the simple missile trajectories shown here. They also would likely have simple capabilities to make interception difficult to impossible.

    I think what this map points out is that if the US cared only about watching or tracking missile launches from Iran, the Azerbaijan plan would be perfectly acceptable (although the location of interceptors would remain unresolved). However, the Poland-based radar system has several other advantages to the US and NATO, wholly unrelated to Iran and directly pointed towards Russia.

  • The proposed system does nothing to prevent such attacks on [Israel]

    In the short to medium term, is there actually any need for a separate system to protect Israel from Iranian missile attacks?

    Any missile launched from Iran towards Israel would have to fly over Iraq, which is surely the most closely monitored airspace in the world at the moment.

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