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Russian military concludes a surprise drill in Kaliningrad

The Iskander missile system.
The Iskander missile system. Source: (RIA Novosti/Scanpix)

Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered snap military drills in Russia's Kaliningrad region, bordering Lithuania and Poland, earlier this month, Russian Defense Ministry disclosed on Tuesday.

The massive surprise drill tested the combat readiness of some 9,000 troops and 642 vehicles, including tactical Iskander-M ballistic missile systems rapidly deployed from the mainland, the report said.

The drills took place from December 5-10 and involved missile and artillery units, mechanized infantry, airborne troops and marines, division reconnaissance, communications, logistics, as well as the crews of combat and military transport aircraft and helicopters, and vessels of the Baltic Fleet.

According to Russian media, tactical Iskander-M ballistic missile systems of the Western Military District’s missile brigade were rapidly transferred from Russia’s mainland to conduct off-the-march combat training tasks.

Kaarel Kaas from the International Center for Defense Studies told to ERR earlier in the year that Kaliningrad is a base to one Russian motor rifle brigade, one motor rifle regiment and the Baltic Fleet Marine Brigade.

„Both the marines and the rifle brigade are now at full capacity after the army reform. Kaliningrad also has new S-400 SAMs. The current anti-aircraft missiles allow much of Poland and likely Latvia to be covered. With long-range SAMs, even Gotland and much of the Baltic Sea could be covered. Kaliningrad is the main base of the Baltic Fleet, which has been strengthened in recent years. And naturally there's an Air Force base in Kaliningrad, where bombers are based,“ Kaas said.

„The Baltic Fleet Marine Brigade in Kaliningrad has about 3,500 men, and the motor rifle brigade there has about 2,500-3,000, while the Independent Motor Rifle Brigade has about 1,600-1,800 men,“ Kaas added.

Editor: S. Tambur

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