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2020.02.05 10:06

Russia forms new division, deploys more ships and aircraft in Kaliningrad – report

Jūratė Skėrytė, BNS2020.02.05 10:06

Lithuanian military intelligence said on Tuesday Russia plans to establish a new motorised infantry division in Kaliningrad and deploy additional missile-carrying ships to the Baltic Sea.

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"The military build-up in the Kaliningrad region shows the Russian political and military leadership's intentions to further militarise the region," Colonel Remigijus Baltrėnas the head of Lithuanian military intelligence told reporters on Tuesday.

Moscow is establishing the new division to be able to conduct military operations without reinforcements from the Russian mainland, the report said.

"The implementation of these plans will lead to a further increase of weapons and equipment in the vicinity of Lithuania. For example, the number of tanks may to reach up to 100 units within the region," Baltrėnas said.

Read more: US Air Force sets sights on Russian Kaliningrad – ‘We’d be ready to execute’

The creation of the division is likely to take several years, he added.

A Russian division normally consists of 10,000 to 20,000 soldiers.

The annual threat assessment report also noted that Russia has been deploying Kalibr-capable ships to the Baltic Sea since 2016. These Russian missile systems can strike a potential adversary's critical infrastructure within a 2,000-kilometre range.

Read more: Russia deploys additional air defences in Kaliningrad

"The fourth such ship was deployed in 2019 and the fifth one is expected to be deployed this year," the head of military intelligence told reporters.

According to the report, Russia has re-established a mixed aviation division with two aviation regiments in Kaliningrad, and has formed a helicopter regiment and has deployed modern Su-30SM multirole fighter jets in the region.

Read more: Importance of Baltic navies ensuring Baltic Sea security – opinion