American expert Robert Farley published an article in which he told what weapons will allow Russia to repel any NATO attack through Kaliningrad.
Until 1991, the Kaliningrad enclave was geographically contiguous with the Soviet Union. After the separation of the Baltic republics and the USSR collapse, Kaliningrad became separate from the rest of Russia. When the Baltic States joined NATO, they became a hostile territory deep in the Western Alliance. This left Kaliningrad deeply vulnerable but also made it a potentially deadly military threat to the West. Recently, the Russian government has been publicly announcing some of its most lethal defensive military systems in the region. Designed for the defense of Kaliningrad, these installations could also pose a critical barrier to NATO.
S-400 air defense system
As detailed in numerous articles by The National Interest, the S-400 is one of the deadliest air defense systems globally. It includes various radar stations, communications equipment, and information and control technologies necessary to maintain a multi-level, integrated air defense zone and protect against aircraft, ballistic missiles, and cruise missiles. Radars can detect dozens (possibly hundreds) of targets across the entire threat spectrum.
The S-400 system comes with a variety of different missiles, from forty-kilometer short-range SAMS to four-hundred-kilometer long-range ultra-long-range missiles. The four-hundred-kilometer armament will extend deep into NATO territory, making it difficult to conduct an air campaign supporting operations near the Baltic States. The presence of the S-400 would also complicate efforts to shrink the Kaliningrad enclave, forcing NATO to rely on stealth aircraft, precision-guided standoff weapons, or (possibly) conventional long-range artillery to address the threat posed by Russian ground forces and offensive missile systems.
The S-400’s ability to track, identify, and target American stealth aircraft remains in question. However, there is no doubt that the S-400 systems can damage fourth-generation military aircraft, and even more so to fleets of civilian aircraft that are usually operated in Central Europe. Indeed, the S-400 system in Kaliningrad, conceived in offensive terms, could completely disrupt the economy of air travel in the region, at least for the duration of any conflict.
Iskander-M missile system
It is a land-sea strike component of the Kaliningrad long-range defense system. Accurate information about the capabilities of the Iskander-M is still difficult to obtain. Still, it is known that it can deliver conventional or nuclear warheads of various types at a distance of up to four hundred kilometers (according to some estimates, up to five hundred kilometers). The complex can maneuver during its final phase, potentially allowing it to avoid missile defense systems.
The Russian government has made a large public demonstration of the transfer of nuclear Iskanders to Kaliningrad, which would allow Moscow to launch a counterattack on numerous NATO targets in a concise period of time. Regardless of whether they are armed with conventional or nuclear weapons, Iskanders can disrupt operations and mobilize the West. Nuclear missiles can easily deter NATO in a conflict over the Baltic States or other territory. In particular, these missiles can be aimed at ASV installations in Poland, the destruction of which will put NATO at even greater risk of Russia’s attack.
Kaliningrad’s presence (and its accessibility by sea) allows the Russian government to manage the dynamics of political escalation in relations with NATO. When Moscow wants to pressure wavering NATO governments, it can put on a Grand show by deploying some new and frightening weapons in the enclave. However, it is possible that if Kaliningrad becomes too inconvenient, NATO may take political steps designed to destabilize the region, giving Moscow a lot of headaches that it does not need.