Interceptors with "Kinschals": Kremlin moves hypersonic missiles to Kaliningrad

Because of EU sanctions, Lithuania restricts Russian goods traffic to Kaliningrad in June.

Interceptors with "Kinschals": Kremlin moves hypersonic missiles to Kaliningrad

Because of EU sanctions, Lithuania restricts Russian goods traffic to Kaliningrad in June. Moscow reacted with threats and protests. Now the Kremlin is relocating three fighter jets to the Baltic Sea exclave. The planes are equipped with hypersonic missiles that are difficult to intercept.

Russia has stationed three fighter jets armed with hypersonic missiles in Kaliningrad. The MIG-31i aircraft with "Kinzhal" missiles were housed at the Shkalovsk base in Kaliningrad, the Defense Ministry in Moscow said. They formed a combat unit there that was "ready for action around the clock".

The "Kinshal" is one of the most fearsome additions to the Russian Air Force. The rockets, which are around eight meters long, fly extremely fast and extremely high, but remain manoeuvrable, according to Russian information. According to NATO, they can hardly be intercepted with conventional air or missile defense systems.

When launched from a MiG-31, the weapon system has a range of up to 2,000 kilometers, according to Russian information. The "Kinschal" can be equipped with up to 480 kilograms of explosives or a nuclear warhead. According to Moscow, the missiles were already used in the war against Ukraine.

The Baltic Sea exclave of Kaliningrad around the former Königsberg lies between Lithuania and Poland and has no direct land connection to Russia. It is only about 500 kilometers from Berlin, but more than 1000 kilometers from Moscow. In mid-June, EU member Lithuania blocked the transport of sanctioned goods from Russia to Kaliningrad.

After protests and threats from Moscow, the EU Commission created new guidelines for transit traffic to Kaliningrad. Russia is now allowed to bring civilian goods that are on the sanctions list back through Lithuania by rail without major restrictions. According to the guidelines, this must be done in the quantities that have been customary up to now.

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