Russia has moved two powerful S-400 anti-aircraft missile systems close to the Finnish border, the Interfax news agency reported Wednesday.
The two S-400 “Triumph” systems have been installed in the Leningrad Region under joint command of both air force and air defense divisions, a spokesperson for Russia’s Western Military District, Colonel Igor Muginov, told Interfax.
Russian troops are now preparing for shooting exercises using the S-400 at the Ashuluk firing range, Muginov said.
The anti-aircraft systems, which have a range of 400 km, will then be deployed to secure the airspace along Russia’s north-western border.
The missiles, produced by state-owned arms producer Almaz-Antay, were installed in Crimea last month. The region has a Russian military hotspot since the peninsula was annexed from Ukraine in 2014
Russia has previously complained of NATO expansion towards its borders, with President Vladimir Putin warning Finland in July that there would be consequences should the country join the alliance.
“We have withdrawn our troops 1,500 km from the border”, Putin said. “[But if Finland joined NATO,] do you think they would stay there?”
There have also been several tense incidents in the Baltic Sea in the last year involving U.S. and Russian armed forces over the last year.
In April, the U.S. military reported that a Russian fighter plane had performed a barrel roll over one of its reconnaissance aircraft in the Baltic. Russia claimed that its pilot had acted within the rules of international airspace regulations and that the U.S. plane had its transponder signal turned off.
This followed earlier incidents of Russian planes buzzing U.S. ships in the Baltic Sea, which Washington claim “raised serious safety concerns.”