Russia's westernmost outpost has gained in strategic importance since relations with NATO plummeted in 2014. Efforts to enhance military capability have accelerated since spring 2016. New weapons and equipment have been deployed and periodic close encounters take place between fighter jets flying from Kaliningrad and Western planes and ships off the Baltic coast.
- NATO will keep a close watch on activity in Kaliningrad during the September Zapad-17 Belarusian-Russian military exercises.
- Russia will make its irritation known over overt intelligence collection targeting Kaliningrad.
- Naval commanders will be under pressure to show improvements to the Baltic Fleet's performance.