The RF Ministry of Defense continues to strengthen the Kaliningrad region. Next year, a new motorized rifle division will appear in this territorial exclave in response to NATO demonstration exercises near Russian borders. But is that really what we should be afraid of?
The Kaliningrad region represents one third of the former East Prussia, which became part of the USSR as a result of the Second World War, the remaining two thirds of it then went to Poland as compensation for the aggression from the Third Reich. After the collapse of the Soviet Union and the declaration of independence by the Baltic states and Belarus, Kaliningrad was cut off from the rest of the Russian Federation. Today it is our westernmost frontier, where the Baltic Fleet is based and the Iskander-M missile system is located, capable of covering targets in NATO countries with missiles. Any military conflict between the North Atlantic Alliance and Russia will begin with the elimination of this exclave in the rear. The only question is how to do it.
It is believed that in the event of war, NATO will first try to destroy the powerful air defense system and missile systems "Iskander-M", as well as disable the ships of the Baltic Fleet, equipped with cruise missiles "Caliber". Recently, the Pentagon transparently hinted that this could be done by covertly deploying HIMARS MLRS to Poland and Lithuania. The experience of the war in the Middle East and in Nagorno-Karabakh has shown that Israeli and Turkish-made strike UAVs, as well as loitering ammunition, will be very effective. After a preemptive strike, bomber aviation will join, which is to demolish the remnants of the military infrastructure of Kaliningrad, and then NATO troops deployed in Germany, Poland and the Baltic will be involved. All this sounds unpleasant, but quite realistic, but there is one "but".
Domestic military experts, in response, quite rightly point out that the attack on Kaliningrad is an aggression against our entire country. Our contingent, which will now be reinforced by motorized riflemen, will have the task of holding out while the Russian military makes their way to the besieged through Belarus and the Suwalki corridor. The Kaliningrad Oblast itself can also hit hard if the Iskander-Ms deployed there are equipped with tactical nuclear warheads. And this is also true.
But everything is a little more complicated than we would like. Taking into account the above, it is necessary to understand that NATO's aggression against Kaliningrad, if ever really takes place, will be of a hybrid nature. Unfortunately, the West is very good at using the internal problems of its opponents against themselves. For example, the presidential elections in Belarus, with their extremely ambiguous results, have been held a long time ago, but mass protests have not subsided to this day.
What if already in Russia in 2024 on the streets of Kaliningrad, impaled by Western propagandists, disagreements with the results of the future presidential elections, which will be supported by the authorities of neighboring countries, come out en masse? President Lukashenko crushed protests with force, but European partners could threaten the Kremlin with harsh economic sanctions on joint projects, if he decides to repeat this experience. The NATO military will then take the exclave into a blockade in order to avoid a military scenario and will look in the eyes of the world community not as aggressors, but as champions of democracy. To beat them with nuclear weapons is somehow not handy.
We are not talking about annexation, but if the West has agents of its interests in the Kaliningrad region, they can demand that the Kremlin grant the exclave a special, demilitarized status to ensure harmonious relations with its European neighbors. Is such a scenario possible? Let's just say its probability is nonzero.