Russian media reported that the authorities in Moscow have been strengthening its military forces in the region of the Kaliningrad Oblast on the Baltic Sea coast.
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“The Kaliningrad Oblast has a significant meaning for the Russian Federation, land neighbouring countries that run anti-Russian policy. Politicians of those countries often speak about annexation of our western region or at least forcing Russia to reduce or liquidate the defence of the Baltic outpost,” Russian “Izvestia” newspaper wrote.
But it was Russia that throughout the last year has been enforcing ground and sea forces of the Baltic Fleet by sending additional equipment to the Kaliningrad Oblast.
“No other Russian army’s fleet has ever had such a strong coastal defence as the one on the Baltic Sea,” “Krasnaya Zvezda” (“Red Star”) newspaper of the Russian Defence Ministry wrote recently.
Already in 2019, the Russians deployed Smerch rocket artillery in Kaliningrad Oblast, to replace the older Grad systems. Moscow explained that this was a response to the strengthening of NATO forces in the Baltic States.
Russia plans to further strengthen its Baltic coast. According to “Izvestia,” in 2021 supersonic Bastion systems will be deployed there. They are equipped with anti-vessel Onix missiles, with, as Russian sources claim, 600-km range, which is longer than Iskander systems.
The Russian newspaper suggests that both Smerch and Bastion systems will be capable of neutralising medium-range missiles deployed on Polish and Lithuanian soil.
Moscow is modernising its mechanised troops in the region. By the end of October 2020, the army corps of the Baltic Fleet had received 30 T-72B3M upgraded tanks.
The newest addition to the Baltic Fleet is the assault vessel Peter Morgunov. It can transport 13 tanks or up to 30 armoured vehicles plus 300 marine corps soldiers. The fleet also includes the new rocket ship Odintsovo as well as assault boat 02510 BK-16.
The air forces of the Baltic Fleet were equipped with Su-30SM new multi-task fighters which replaced the obsolete Su-27.
In September, the Russians started modernising the base of the Baltic Fleet in Baltiysk on the Vistula Spit. The facility will be capable of servicing modern vessels armed with cruise missiles.