defenseone.com Moscow’s recent wargames in its Kaliningrad exclave have included mock nuclear strikes, the top U.S. Army general in Europe said. Russia has moved ballistic missiles to and conducted nuclear strike drills from its Kaliningrad exclave, prompting Pentagon fears that Moscow could block access to the Baltic Sea. There is a “significant amount of capability” in Kaliningrad, including anti-ship weapons, air defenses, and electronic warfare equipment, Lt. Gen. Ben Hodges, commander of U.S. Army Europe, said Wednesday. “They could make it very difficult for any of us to get up into the Baltic Sea if we needed to in a contingency,” Hodges said in a briefing at the Pentagon. Russia has conducted what NATO commanders call “snap exercises”: large-scale drills that are not announced and use sophisticated arms. When NATO holds drills of similar size, Russian observers are invited and typically attend. But NATO officials are not invited to Russian’s snap exercises held in Kaliningrad and nearby Belarus. “We find out about them when they’re happening,” Hodges said. For exercises in Kaliningrad, Moscow has deployed the mobile, short-range Iskander ballistic missile, Hodges said.
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