NATO Has a Secret Plan to Destroy Russia's Kaliningrad Base

David Axe

Key point: Moscow's Kaliningrad territory is bristling with missiles and would need to be dealt with during any conflict.

The Pentagon has a plan for destroying the defenses of Russia’s most heavily-armed European outpost, a top U.S. commander said in September 2019.

The Russian exclave of Kaliningrad, which lies between Poland and Lithuania on the Baltic Sea and is geographically separate from the rest of Russia, practically bristles with S-300 and S-400 air-defense missiles, Oniks anti-ship missiles and Iskander surface-to-surface missiles.

From Kaliningrad, Russia can threaten NATO aircraft, ships and ground forces for hundreds of miles in all directions.

But U.S. forces believe they know how to crack Kaliningrad, Gen Jeff Harrigan, commander of U.S. Air Forces in Europe, told reporters including Breaking Defense’s Sydney Freedberg, Jr. “We train to that,” Harrigian said. “We think through those plans all the time, and… if that would ever come to fruition, we’d be ready to execute.”

“It would be a multi-domain, very timely and effective capability that we would bring to ensure we have the access we need in that environment,” Harrigian added.

“Unsurprisingly, the general didn’t give details on what that plan of attack would be,” Freedberg wrote. “But the unique position of Kaliningrad, nestled between Poland and Lithuania, well away from the rest of Russia, makes it both an excellent advance base and a highly exposed target.”

Moscow in recent years has been beefing up Kaliningrad’s defenses. Ground troops in the exclave are scheduled to receive Iskander-M ballistic missiles in 2019, "completing" the "rearmament of the missile formations of the land forces," the Kremlin announced on Jan. 1, 2019.

Kaliningrad’s missile brigade possesses more than 50 vehicles, including launchers, command and maintenance vehicles and other support vehicles, according to the defense ministry. The new Iskander-M rocket can carry a conventional or nuclear warhead as far as 300 miles away.

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