(Vatican Radio) U.S and other officials say Russia is moving nuclear-capable missiles into Kaliningrad, the tiny Russian enclave sitting between Poland and Lithuania, from where they could potentially reach several European cities, as part of a wider standoff with the West.
The Russian military movements also come after the United States for the first time publicly accused Russia of orchestrating a string of cyberattacks against the U.S.
Listen to the report by Stefan Bos:
Estonian radio said Russian Iskander-M missiles are already en route from the Russian city of St. Petersburg to Kaliningrad in a civilian transport ship.
The nuclear-capable missiles rockets have a range of about 500 kilometers and could reach several several European cities, including in neighboring Poland and Lithuania.
There was no immediate comment from Russia on the reports but Moscow had threatened to place a missile system in Kaliningrad, on the doorstep of the European Union and the NATO military alliance.
Additionally, Russia has confirmed that it is considering plans to resume its military presence in Vietnam and Cuba, while in Europe Finland's Defence Ministry said it had already scrambled jets at least twice in recent days to monitor suspected airspace violations by Russian fighters there.
The announcements comes amid wider East-West tensions over Russia's role in Ukraine and Syria, especially between Washington and Moscow, most notably over an ongoing Russian-backed Syrian government offensive on the city of Aleppo that has killed hundreds of civilians.
Besides a direct military standoff tensions are also increasing online.
Washington says Russia's cyberattacks are targeting U.S. political organizations and prominent current and former officials in a bid "to interfere with the U.S. election process."
Last month, Democratic Party presisidential candidate Hillary Clinton already suggested Russia's ionvolvement in a debate with her Republican rival Donald Trump. "There’s no doubt now that Russia has used cyber attacks against all kinds of organizations in our country, and I am deeply concerned about this," she said.
"I know Donald’s very praiseworthy of Vladimir Putin, but Putin is playing a really tough, long game here", Clinton added.
Trump said "wrong" when she suggested he was praising the Russian leader.
Now the Office of the Director of National Intelligence and the Department of Homeland Security says that it is "confident" the Russian government "directed" the hacking of e-mails of individuals and groups, including the Democratic National Committee.
The Kremlin has dismissed the U.S. statement as "some kind of nonsense", but the rethoric has once again raised international concerns about the worst East-West standoff since the Cold War.