Why Is Russia Aiming Missiles at China?
“In early June 2017, Russian media reported that yet another Ground Forces missile brigade received the dreaded road-mobile 9K720 Iskander-M missile system (known in Russian military parlance as an ‘operational-tactical missile system,’ or OTRK in short). The brigade in question is the 29th Army’s newly established 3rd Missile Brigade, based in Russia’s colossal Eastern Military District (MD). Formed in December 2016, this brigade was initially armed with the aging 9K79-1 Tochka-U tactical ballistic missile system, and became the Eastern MD’s fourth missile brigade to be re-equipped with the Iskander-M as part of the Russian Defense Ministry’s plan to phase out all Tochka-Us by 2020. The district’s three other brigades — the 107th, 103rd and 20th — received their Iskander-M OTRKs in 2013, 2015, and 2016, respectively. As a result, there are presently more Iskander-M brigades in the Eastern MD than any other district; Russia’s other three military districts (Central, Southern, and Western) currently house two Iskander-M brigades each. What, then, is the purpose of these four brigades?”