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US Analyst Explains How NATO Countries Can 'Neutralise' Russian Exclave of Kaliningrad

© Sputnik / Igor Zarembo / Go to the mediabank"2S5 Giatsint-S" 152 mm self-propelled gun (left) and missile system "Iskander" in Kaliningrad
2S5 Giatsint-S 152 mm self-propelled gun (left) and missile system Iskander in Kaliningrad - Sputnik International, 1920, 23.01.2022
The presence of advanced Russian armaments in the exclave bordering Poland and the Baltic Sea has long prompted concerns by military analysts. Having nuclear-capable Iskander launchers deployed and covered by advanced air-defence systems such as the S-400, makes Kaliningrad a powerful Russian deterrent in case of an offensive by NATO.
NATO member states have to take into consideration the "threat" coming from the Russian exclave of Kaliningrad when planning for any alleged Russian "invasion", an analyst at the Lexington Institute in the US, Sarah White has stated in an article for the online news outlet 19fortyfive.
White pointed out that Kaliningrad hosts an array of advanced Russian weapons, including Iskander-M (NATO reporting name SS-26) launchers that can launch both conventional and nuclear missiles within a 500-kilometre radius, which is enough to hit all of the Baltic states and Poland – the exclave's neighbours. She added that the exclave is also likely to have a fleet of warships as well as fighter jets armed with cruise missiles.
The American analyst alleged that most security experts ignore Kaliningrad, while, in fact, NATO might have to fight a two-front war in the event of an armed conflict with Moscow. Poland and Lithuania, which border the exclave, might not be prepared to "neutralise" Kaliningrad, White stated.
She suggested that both countries need to procure certain types of armaments in order to do that. Namely, they will need to buy Patriot missile systems from the US as they are allegedly the only way to intercept missiles launched by Iskander systems. Poland has already ordered and received the first shipment of the missile systems, but the rest is yet to arrive.
Lithuania, however, like the other Baltic countries, can hardly afford to purchase them, White said in the article. She noted that NATO has so far been reluctant to supply these systems to the Baltic states fearing it might be seen as an aggressive move by Russia.
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In addition to the Patriot systems, the American analyst suggested that both countries could use fifth-generation F-35 fighter jets and M-1 Abrams tanks. Both of them have already been ordered by Poland, but none has arrived so far. White stressed the need to prioritise these shipments in light of the current tensions with Russia. The analyst further admitted that just as is the case with the Patriots, Lithuania can hardly afford to spend money on such expensive American armaments.
The article, inked by Sarah White, comes amid increased tensions around Ukraine as Western countries accuse Russia of amassing troops near the border with the country. NATO member states have expressed fears that Moscow might be planning an invasion of Ukraine. The Kremlin, for its part, has strongly rejected these allegations calling them unfounded. At the same time, Russia defends its sovereign right to move and deploy its armed forces within its borders at its own discretion.
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