Russia’s invasion of Ukraine: – May be Russia’s next step

Until 1945, the region was called East Prussia and was part of Germany. Now the region is called Kaliningrad and belongs to Russia.

The exclave is sandwiched between Lithuania and Poland along the Baltic Sea.

When the Russian Tsar Peter the Great founded St. Petersburg in 1703, the new capital was to be Russia’s window to the West. When the Soviet Union took control of Kaliningrad, the exclave became a heavily militarized peephole against Europe – and not least – NATO.

Now the Russian region can be the stage for Russia’s next move in the bitter conflict with NATO.

NATO: Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Støre is in London to meet the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom Boris Johnson, where the war in Ukraine and Finland and Sweden’s desire to join NATO will be the topic of conversation. Reporter: Frode Andresen / Video: Bjørn Langsem
sea ​​view

Russia is raging

It is expected that both Sweden and Finland will apply for NATO membership as early as next week.

The countries have been neutral for several generations, but Russia’s brutal invasion of Ukraine has driven Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson and Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin into the arms of the collective defense alliance.

Russia is reacting strongly to the fact that they will soon, probably, share another 1340 kilometers with a border with another NATO country, and that the Baltic Sea will now have a new flank with NATO members.

If Finland and Sweden join NATO, Russia will come up with an answer of “both military and other nature”, warns Russian authorities.

SHOOTS: This video posted on social media will show the moment a Russian tank in Mariupol is shelled from above.
sea ​​view

This they can do

It can mean several things, says Geir Hågen Karlsen, lieutenant colonel at the Norwegian Defense College.

“Overall, they can respond with aggressive political rhetoric and threats, propaganda and manipulation on social media, cyber attacks, military force demonstrations and the deployment of military forces and equipment,” he told Dagbladet.

A number of Finnish websites have recently been hit by cyber attacks, and Russia has violated both Sweden’s and Finland’s airspace earlier in the course of the Ukraine war.

Finnish authorities have even asked the population to prepare for Russian cyber attacks in the time to come, according to the Finnish public broadcaster YLE.

– The absolutely worst-case scenario would be an attack on smaller parts of Sweden or Finland, but it is very unlikely, says the lieutenant colonel.

He says that it is far more likely that Russia may move heavy weapons and weapon systems along the border with Finland or Kaliningrad.

– Now, due to the war in Ukraine, Russia has a limited number of forces to move forward. Therefore, a weapon system such as Iskander is perhaps most relevant, says Karlsen.

BROKEN: Several Russian floating bridges, as well as Russian tanks, are said to have been bombed in one attempt to cross the river Syverskyi Donets. Video: Reuters.
sea ​​view

– Rare threat

Iskander is the name of a type of short-range missile that can be equipped with nuclear warheads. There must already be Iskander missiles in Kaliningradbut it is unclear how many.

Another question is how many more they can possibly move to Kaliningrad, according to Karlsen.

– They are about to fire up a lot of the ammunition, so a question is how many missiles they actually have, says the lieutenant colonel.

- Very dramatic

– Very dramatic

Russia’s former prime minister and president Dmitry Medvedev warned in April that it might be possible to move nuclear weapons to the exclave. according to Reuters.

Medvedev is now deputy head of Russia’s national security, but this saber-rattling caused confusion in Lithuania.

Russia’s threat appears quite strange all the time we know that they have nuclear weapons 100 kilometers away from the Lithuanian border. Nuclear weapons have always been located in Kaliningrad, Defense Minister Arvydas Anušauskas said the Lithuanian public broadcaster LRT.

AZOV BATALIES: Must have stormed Russian positions Azovstal steel plant.
sea ​​view

– Will not mean much

Should Russia move heavier weapons, such as more Iskander missiles or other weapon systems, to Kaliningrad, Lieutenant Colonel Karlsen does not believe that it will upset the balance of power in the region significantly.

– I think this is more of a political signal than a change in the military balance of power. Russia fires long-range missiles from surface vessels and submarines and heavy bombers. They can move quickly and have a long range. One of the Iskander missiles has a range of approximately 500 kilometers, but Russia also has other missiles with a range of 2000 kilometers. It will therefore not mean so much for the balance of power that they move other types of missiles or weapons to Kaliningrad, he says.

The Norwegian lieutenant colonel is supported by the Swedish analyst Hugo von Essen from the Foreign Policy Institute’s Eastern European Center.

– I think they will strengthen their capacity with more long-range missiles and military exercises nearby. They will probably show from the Russian side that they have the will and capacity, von Essen tells Dagbladet.

EXPLODES: A Russian tank exploded right in front of a Chinese TV team, May 6, 2022. Video: Phoenix Satellite TV. Reporter: Vegard Krüger
sea ​​view

– Advanced Russian base

For a number of years, the exclave has been militarily strategically important for Russia and the Soviet Union. This has given the Russian navy another port in the Baltic Sea, and the location of the exclave has implicitly been a threat to the Baltics.

Only a 65-kilometer-long land corridor – known as the Suwalki Corridor – connects the Baltics with allied NATO countries.

From the West, Kaliningrad has been seen as an advanced Russian military base and a threat to the Baltic Sea, Gotland and the Suwalki Corridor, which could isolate the Baltics if closed. All this will change now, says Lieutenant Colonel Karlsen about Sweden’s and Finland’s likely entry into NATO.

– The Suwalki corridor will still be there, but now NATO will cover a larger part of the Baltic Sea area, and then Kaliningrad will in reality become a more isolated place, he adds.

A Swedish NATO membership in particular could lead to armaments on Gotland in the Baltic Sea, says Karlsen.

– At the same time, you will see more exercise activity in the Baltic Sea area with the USA, Great Britain and NATO in general, he says.

In sum, it means one thing:

– It will change the balance of power further in our favor.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.