CNN has reported that Russia may have “upgraded” her nuclear bunkers in Kaliningrad, Russia:
Russia may have significantly modernized a nuclear weapons storage bunker in Kaliningrad, a sensitive exclave of Russian territory sandwiched between Poland and the Baltics, as tensions between Russia and the West continue to rise, according to a new report.
On Monday, the Federation of American Scientists (FAS) published aerial photographs that the group says show the facility in the Baltic outpost has been under major renovation since 2016.
FAS said the images document refurbishments at the site back in 2016, when one of three underground bunkers at the location was excavated and deepened before it appeared to have been covered over in recent months, “presumably to return (to) operational status soon.”
A satellite image from the Federation of American Scientists that apparently shows a buried nuclear weapons storage bunker in the Kaliningrad region, which the group says has been under major renovation since mid-2016.
Hans M. Kristensen, the director of the nuclear information project at FAS, said in a blog post that it was unclear from the images if any nuclear weapons had ever been or will be kept at the facility.
“The features of the site suggest it could potentially serve Russian Air Force or Navy dual-capable forces. But it could also be a joint site, potentially servicing nuclear warheads for both Air Force, Navy, Army, air-defense, and coastal defense forces in the region,” Kristensen wrote.
“It is to my knowledge the only nuclear weapons storage site in the Kaliningrad region,” he continued.
Kaliningrad is an isolated pocket of sovereign Russia on the Baltic coast where several soccer games will be played during the 2018 World Cup.
The Kremlin has not yet commented on reports of any modernization occurring at the site in Kaliningrad but has previously defended its right to deploy weapons there.
Kristensen said that Russia maintained that nuclear warheads are kept in “central” storage believed to be inside mainland Russia. He proposed that the facility in Kaliningrad “could potentially function as a forward storage site that would be supplied with warheads from central storage sites in a crisis.”
Tensions in Eastern Europe have been building since Russia’s annexation of Crimea from Ukraine in 2014.
In February, US and European officials expressed concern over Russia’s militarization of the Baltics after the Kremlin deployed new Iskander missiles to Kaliningrad. A US defense official based in Europe characterized the positioning of missiles at the time as “the biggest move we’ve seen.”
A month later, Russian President Vladimir Putin unveiled a new “invincible” missile that he claimed would render NATO defenses “completely useless.” In an annual address to the Russian parliament, the Duma, the Kremlin leader said Moscow’s new arsenal had been developed in response to moves in Washington. (source)
Kaliningrad is unique in Russia, for it is both a city (город) and administrative region (область), and like when it was a German possession, it is the only part of Russia that is not physically connected to the Russian mainland. It was originally called Konigsberg, having been in German possession for almost eight centuries beginning at the start of the 13th century and was taken from Germany after World War II and renamed after Stalin’s good friend and political ally Mihail Kalinin. Because of this history, Kaliningrad is an unspoken but contested area between Germany and Russia.
Due to its location and history, Konigsberg/Kaliningrad is of military significance. In October 2016, Russia moved nuclear capable weapons into Kaliningrad with the clear intention of preparing for a potential war against her ancient rival in Germany. The US and NATO- meaning Germany- responded in February 2017 by conducting military exercises in Latvia and the eastern parts of Poland near Orzysz. The former city is respectively 12 and 16 hours from St. Petersburg and Moscow, and Orzysz is 3 hours from Kaliningrad.
In April 2018, Russia tested a series of missiles in the Baltic Sea following a meeting between President Trump and Baltic State leaders.
In June 2018, Poland announced it has put aside $2 billion for the construction of a permanent US military base in Orzysz- the same town just outside of Kaliningrad where it conducted wargames against Russia and is less than a day’s drive from St. Petersburg and Moscow alike:
oland is willing to contribute $2 billion to the establishment of a permanent U.S. military base on its soil, according to an official document.
The Polish Ministry of Defense confirmed the authenticity of the document, titled “Proposal for a Permanent U.S. Presence in Poland,” after it was published online and first reported on by news outlet Onet.pl.
The document requests that the U.S. permanently station an armored division in Poland. It is not secret and has been sent to, among others, Congress, think tanks, and government institutions in the U.S..
“The Government of Poland is ready to allocate considerable resources, ranging from 1.5 to 2 billion dollars, as it is important to share the burden of defence expenses,” the document said.
It goes on to cite the threat of Russia as justification for a permanent U.S. military presence in Poland.
Opposition politicians criticized the proposal, with former Defense Minister Tomasz Siemoniak saying “this kind of diplomacy” was “an expression of helplessness” and weakened Poland’s bargaining position.
U.S. troops have been stationed in Poland since 2017 as part of the Enhanced Forward Presence, a NATO defense initiative in Eastern Europe. (source)
Forget about “nuclear bunkers” in Kaliningrad, because it has been known for a while now that nuclear weapons were going to be in Kaliningrad, and as such it’s hard not to believe that there is not at least one installation among the many controlled by the USA or NATO that completely surround Kaliningrad which have nuclear weapons inside. This does not even include how permanent US military bases are being constructed right next to the Russian border as part of Operation Enhanced Forward Presence.
The USA is preparing for a war and has been for decades that, if it starts in this region, will likely result in a world war. Likewise, it is highly unlikely that Russia will be one to start the war because she is already pressured by Turkey in the south, instability in the Central Asian republics, and tension with Japan in the Far East. She can fight one of those and potentially win, but she cannot fight them all and win, and she certainly will not want to give any appearance that she wants a fight to give justification to a war against her.