Russia plans to deploy missile ships in a lake near the Baltic Sea in response to NATO’s expansion in the region.
A Moscow-commissioned study recently found the deployment and combat missions feasible in Lake Ladoga, Izvestia revealed, citing sources.
Located in northwest Russia, the freshwater lake’s relative unfamiliarity by NATO intelligence is another reason for the assessment, according to the Moscow-based outlet.
Russia is considering deploying Karakurt and Buyan-M classes of corvettes (small missile ships) in the lake. However, a final decision has yet to be issued.
A ‘NATO Lake’
Lake Ladoga’s northern shore lies barely 50 kilometers (31 miles) from the Finnish border, while the Baltic Sea is roughly 650 to 700 kilometers (404 to 435 miles) away.
Finland joining NATO and the imminent inclusion of Sweden into the alliance has tightened NATO’s grip over the Baltic Sea, a vital transit route for the Russian Navy with bases near Saint Petersburg and in the Kaliningrad exclave.
The sea’s importance is also tied to its proximity to the Arctic, a region with growing strategic importance due to its untapped mineral wealth.
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has heightened military activities in the region, with naval drills performed by both NATO and the Russian military.
The Russian Ministry of Defense study analyzed the water body’s hydrographic details and possible threats posed by adversaries.
“This is a completely sound military-technical response to the entry of Finland and Sweden into NATO,” Izvestia quoted military historian Dmitry Boltenkov as saying.
“Lake Ladoga is quite large. During the Great Patriotic War, the Ladoga Flotilla operated there, and after the war various forces were stationed. It is a good idea to ensure that Buyans and Karakurts fire at NATO targets.”
Warships Planned for Deployment
Three Karakurt-class warships are operational, while 15 more are planned.
The corvette will be armed with the Kalibr class of anti-ship cruise missiles with an estimated range of 1,400 to 2,000 kilometers (870 to 1,200 miles).
Starting from the third ship of the class Odintsovo, it is being equipped with the naval variant of the Pantsir-M air defense system, according to Izvestia.
Additionally, the ship’s smaller size, contours, and the use of radio-absorbing material make it less noticeable to adversary radars than the previous generation of naval vessels.
The Buyan-M has been specially designed for inland waterway navigation and can fire the Kalibr missile.