Kaliningrad Goes to War

No one needs to be convinced of the importance of the Kaliningrad area for the control of the Baltic States and the central Baltic area. It is in the Kaliningrad area that the largest number of new military units have been established in recent years.

There is not much precise information on the units deployed in the region. This is because this place plays a very important role in the disinformation war of Russia and is used to control the region. For example, it is from this county that a potential attack on the Suwalki Gap could be launched, which would cut the Baltic countries off from NATO assistance.

Previously, the troop of soldiers deployed in Kaliningrad was more of a defensive nature. However, a very strong division consisting of four regiments has recently been created. This is the 18th Guards Mechanised Division

“It is obviously a serious strike group that could be used in many different directions.” – Russian military analyst Pavel Felgenhauer says.

According to Pavel Felgenhauer, the 18th Division “is motorised according to its name, but actually it is armoured, capable of mounting a serious breakthrough – maybe to Warsaw, maybe to Suwalki, maybe to an offensive back through Lithuania”, and of creating a land corridor between Russia and Kaliningrad.

“So,” the expert adds, “in Kaliningrad, the Russian army has created an ‘armoured fist’, just like during the Cold War”.

The Division was formed at the end of 2021, a few months before the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Today, when we know the plans of the Kremlin for a lightning-fast occupation of Ukraine, we can suspect that President of Russia Vladimir Putin has already planned the next step and the occupation of a NATO country.

Mikhail Khodorkovsky, once one of the oligarchs in Russia and now an opponent of Vladimir Putin, mentioned this possibility in an interview with the newspaper Le Figaro.

“Vladimir Putin’s next war would involve a NATO country, he would bomb Poland, or his troops would enter a Baltic country. Propaganda is already preparing Russian public opinion by explaining that Kaliningrad needs a land corridor. Or by saying that Poland must be punished”, Mikhail Khodorkovsky said.

The strong and resolute defence of the Ukrainian army has foiled plans of the Kremlin. There is no question of a lightning-fast war anymore, and the Russian army is gradually shifting to a positional war. On the other hand, the heavy losses of the Russian army have forced the leadership to call up reserves, including from the Kaliningrad region.

According to Inform Napalm, an intelligence community founded after the annexation of Crimea and the start of the conflict in Donbas, the 18th Guards Mechanised Division was redeployed from Kaliningrad to Donbas in Ukraine in early April.

However, it should be stressed out that the redeployment of this unit does not mean that Kaliningrad will lose its military capabilities. Missile units (with Iskander, Kalibr and Bastion anti-tank missiles), ships of the Baltic Fleet and the Air Force will remain in the region.

It is therefore clear that despite the huge demand for military equipment in Ukraine, the Kremlin has not decided to move all troops to the Ukrainian front. This might suggest that he is still planning an attack against a NATO country (together with an attack from Belarusian territory) or that it fears a NATO attack on Kaliningrad.

At the beginning of May, “mock exercises” using Iskander missiles were held in the region. The ballistic missiles are capable of hitting targets 500 km away and carrying thermonuclear warheads. At the same time, the Russian navy trained “to operate in conditions of radioactive contamination”, according to the statement of the Minister of Defence of a Russia. However, experts interpreted the exercise differently.

“In Kaliningrad, we see that during joint exercises, the air force first trains to withdraw from the fire of the potential enem and redeploy to airfields in Belarus and inland Russia. Thus, the Kremlin is assuming that if the conflict (in Ukraine) continues, Kaliningrad could be attacked and captured”, Andrzej Wilk, an analyst at the Polish Centre for Eastern Studies, noted.

One of our readers from Kaliningrad told the portal that during the Orthodox Easter, soldiers deployed in the region received text messages on their phones, telling them to check the condition of their personal anti-chemical kits and field uniforms, and that if they were outdated or damaged, they would be immediately replaced.

The reader writes that because of the information isolation in Russia, no one is writing about this. He therefore wonders whether this could mean that the authorities are expecting an attack in the region.

On the other hand, he also draws attention to posts by his friends on Twitter, which state that “the management decided to check the state of personal protective equipment, as it is scarce on the front line and not available to everyone. It can be assumed that there are simply not enough kits, so damaged kits are also used to equip the soldiers involved in the special operation.” A Russian citizen Dima Nestorov writes on his Twitter account that this is another proof of how weak the Russian army is. “In the Kaliningrad region, the army is constantly pretending to be ready, and is currently checking old and broken equipment. It is ridiculous that they want to continue this strange war with Ukraine. It’s a shame!”


Jacek J. Komar

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Autorius: Voras.online