Russian SRBM, airforce and nuclear build-up in Kaliningrad, can facilitate a maneuver and transfer of the forces from Kaliningrad and to Poland and the neighboring countries.
“Recent decision of Russia’s army command made it possible to boost its combat potential in the Kaliningrad Region in such a powerful way. Nonetheless, all steps above may eventually translate into an increase in the military threat to neighboring NATO member states, including Poland and Lithuania, as well as to allied ships in the Baltic Sea”, wrote the warsawinstitute lately.
In light of reports regarding the feasibility of strengthening NATO’s military presence in Poland and countries bordering Russia, the Russian Defense Ministry appears to be taking its steps at Kaliningrad. ISI was able to identify several signs of these measures within four sites:
SS-26 Iskander Missiles at 152nd Missile Brigade
On the background of the overt reports, ISI was able to identify changes in the Russian weapons base at Kaliningrad. Among others, replacing old storage sheds by new, in 152 SRBM unit base.
“Kaliningrad has long hosted the 152nd missile brigade armed with SS-21 Scarab (Tochka-U) tactical-operational missiles, which are now obsolete; That unit is being rearmed with SS-26 Iskander missiles as their replacement”, according to warontherocks. Acording to media reports, the Iskandar missiles are able to carry nuclear warheads.
Nuclear Weapons Storage
The businessinsider recently published that Russia told US Defense Secretary James Mattis that it could use nuclear weapons in the event of a war in Europe. According to the publishment, Moscow’s warning was regarding a potential conflict in the Baltic countries of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania.
Regarding this threat, ISI was able to verify changes in a nuclear weapons storage site at Kaliningrad. Partly underground storage structure, vehicles covered, two bunkers with a double fence and a bunker under covering activity.
Military Storage Area Near Primorsk
Another finding indicates that an arms storage area near Primorsk is under upgrade works. The high-resolution satellite photos uncover 40 new bunkers under construction with higher storage capacity. Those bunkers built near the present small bunkers.
Reconstruction at the Chkalovsk Air Base was also noted by ISI, including a new railway, expanding process of the existing runway with instrumental landing systems and an area under reconstruction.
There is no doubt that tensions between the US and Russia in the European region grew during the last years. Trump’s demand from European countries to increase defence budgets, directed at dealing with the Russian army, so is the planned NATO Trident Juncture 2018 scheduled for the end of October 2018.
In conclusion, ISI assesses that the mentioned measures taken by Russia within Kaliningrad probably allow Russia military to reinforce the area with new and additional units. This military force build-up will facilitate, in case of need or decision, a maneuver and transfer of Russian forces further from Kaliningrad and to Poland and the neighboring countries.