That's what the division is for: in Kaliningrad, they are completing the creation of a new formation
According to experts, the strengthening of the Russian grouping on the territory of the exclave will be a response to the deployment of NATO forces in the Baltic countries.
The strengthening of the Russian grouping in the Kaliningrad region is ahead of schedule. The Ministry of Defense is completing the creation of the 18th Guards Motorized Rifle Division on the territory of the exclave. In the fall, the newly formed formation will be on alert. At present, the formation and rearmament of three of its motorized rifle and one tank regiments is nearing completion. According to experts, the creation of a fully staffed division in the region is an inexpensive but effective response to NATO maneuvers near our borders.
Sources in the military department told Izvestia that the formation of the 18th motorized rifle division is now being completed in the Kaliningrad region. Its staffing and rearmament is planned to be completed in the fall. By this time, the formation will be fully operational with motorized rifle and tank regiments, artillery and anti-aircraft units and subunits, as well as several separate battalions. Previously, it was planned to create a new motorized rifle division in the exclave by the end of 2021.
The upcoming deployment of a full-fledged motorized rifle division in the region was announced in December last year by the commander of the Baltic Fleet, Alexander Nosatov. According to the admiral, the new unit will become part of the 11th Army Corps defending Kaliningrad. The division is a powerful self-sufficient formation that has everything necessary for conducting various types of combat operations.
In the rear of the battles: Kaliningrad will be protected by ultra-long-range scouts. The soldiers of the new unit will be able to determine targets inaccessible to satellites and drones
Izvestia learned a few exclusive details about the formation of the 18th division. So, the basis of the new formation was the reformed 79th Guards Motorized Rifle Brigade. At its base, the 79th motorized rifle regiment was deployed, as well as combat support units and subunits - a separate communications battalion, a reconnaissance battalion, and an engineer-sapper. The division included the newly formed 275th and 280th motorized rifle regiments, as well as the 11th tank regiment.
At the end of April, Admiral Alexander Nosatov presented the commanders of the created motorized rifle units with the historical battle banners of the 275th and 280th regiments, under which they fought during the Great Patriotic War. And even earlier, in March, Deputy Defense Minister Colonel-General Andrei Kartapolov handed over the historical battle banner to the commander of the 18th division being formed.
According to the interlocutors of the publication, it was previously assumed that one of the military units that would become part of the division would be the 7th separate motorized rifle regiment. However, in the end, the Ministry of Defense decided to leave it in the status of a separate unit.
“The strengthening of the grouping in the Baltic region on the basis of Kaliningrad has been going on for a long time,” Inna Vetrenko, head of the Department of Management and Social Technologies of the North-West Institute of RANEPA, told Izvestia. - It is undoubtedly necessary to strengthen this area, since there is a geopolitical threat from the western direction. There are information campaigns on the part of Poland and other European NATO member states, and territorial claims are being made. All this speaks about the consideration of such issues within these states.
The expert associates the accelerated creation of new formations of the Russian army with the recent exercises of NATO forces in the Baltic countries.
“After these maneuvers, analytical studies were carried out and vulnerabilities were identified for strengthening military groupings of strategic importance,” explained Anna Vetrenko.
Special Purpose Region
The 79th Separate Guards Motorized Rifle Insterburg Brigade, whose units became the basis for a new formation, is the heir to the 18th Guards Rifle Division, which distinguished itself in the battles of the Great Patriotic War. Initially, it was formed in 1939 at number 133. It participated in hostilities since July 1941, held the defenses on the Dnieper, in the Smolensk and Kalinin (now Tver) regions. For the heroism of the personnel, the unit was one of the first in March 1942 to receive the status of a guard and serial number 18. At the final stage of the war, the division stormed Konigsberg (today Kaliningrad) and Pillau (Baltiysk), fought on the Baltic Spit. At the end of 1945, it was transformed into the 30th Guards Mechanized Division, in 1957 - into the 30th Guards Motorized Rifle Division, in 1964 - into the 18th Guards Motorized Rifle Division.In 2001 it became the 79th separate guards motorized rifle brigade.
In recent years, a multinational NATO strike group has been concentrated near the border of the region. The modernization and strengthening of the Russian connection in the exclave has been going on for several years. At the beginning of 2018, Iskander-M operational-tactical missile systems were transferred to the region. According to the Ministry of Defense, the 152nd missile brigade of the 11th Army Corps of the Baltic Fleet was rearmed on them.
At the beginning of 2019, there were reports of the reorganization of the tank battalion located in the Kaliningrad region into the 11th separate regiment. In 2020, representatives of the defense department announced the receipt of three dozen modernized T-72B3M tanks with significantly improved protection against cumulative ammunition and a new fire control system.
Recently, Russia has been actively strengthening the defense of the exclave. As Izvestia previously reported, this year a division of unique supersonic Bastion complexes will be deployed there. They are capable of hitting targets at a distance of up to 600 km. The Coastal Missile Force is represented by the 27th Separate Brigade. The connection is based in the village of Donskoye, Svetlogorsk urban district, 30 km from the regional center. This settlement is located at the westernmost tip of the Zemland peninsula, approximately at the same distance from the northern and southern borders of the region. This location makes it possible to keep under control almost the entire Baltic Sea area adjacent to Russian territory.