Rondeli Russian Military Digest

Rondeli Russian Military Digest: Issue 72, 25 January - 31 January 2021

Author: David Batashvili, Research Fellow at the Rondeli Foundation

Rondeli Russian Military Digest is a weekly brief that reports key activities by and developments within the armed forces of the Russian Federation. Researchers, civil servants and everyone else interested in what is going on in the military of one of the most dangerous nations on the planet – tune in and enjoy.

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For a comprehensive geographic view of the Russian military structure see our Interactive Map of the Russian Military Forces.


Geostrategic Activities

War in Ukraine – Six Ukrainian soldiers were wounded on the Donbass frontline by the Russian hybrid forces during the week of 25-31 January 2021.

Russians reported that their MiG-31 fighter intercepted a plane from Norway over the Barents Sea on 29 January.

According to unofficial reports, the Baltic Fleet’s Steregushchiy / Project 20380 class corvette Stoikiy, on a long-range expedition since 16 December 2020, moved to pass the Suez Canal from the Mediterranean to the Indian Ocean basin.

A joint Russian-Turkish center for monitoring the Nagorno-Karabakh ceasefire opened in Azerbaijan on 30 January 2021. The center will collect information from distance, including through UAVs. It involves 60 Russian and 60 Turkish troops.


Structural Changes

Information in Russian sources indicates that the formation of a new mechanized regiment in Kaliningrad Oblast has been launched. The future regiment will be based in Sovetsk (former Tilsit) on the border with Lithuania. It is possible that the unit’s name will be the 75th Mechanized Regiment.

New mechanized regiment’s location according to the preliminary information

A mechanized division HQ in Kaliningrad Oblast reportedly was established on 1 December 2020. Formation of the division is set to continue in 2021.

A new anti-aircraft brigade reportedly is in the process of being established in the Southern Military District. It is set to be armed with Buk-M3 and Buk-M2 air defense missile systems.


Rearmament and Modernization

A new Buyan-M / Project 21631 class missile corvette Grayvoron joined the Black Sea Fleet on 30 January 2021. It will serve at the Sevastopol naval base in occupied Crimea, Ukraine.




Over 3,500 troops of the 20th Army (HQ in Voronezh), from units based in Voronezh, Belgorod, Bryansk, Smolensk, Kursk and Moscow Oblasts, conducted simultaneous exercises.

About 3,000 troops of the 58th Army (HQ in Vladikavkaz, Republic of North Ossetia-Alania) conducted exercises in the east of the North Caucasus and in Georgia’s Russian-occupied Tskhinvali Region.

Bastion-P mobile coastal defense missile systems of the Black Sea Fleet’s 15th Coastal Missile Artillery Brigade (Sevastopol) conducted an exercise in occupied Crimea, Ukraine. In a separate exercise on the occupied peninsula, Bal mobile coastal defense missile systems of the same brigade exercised together with planes from the Black Sea Fleet’s Naval Aviation.


*The weekly number of exercises in the Russian armed forces is very large. Therefore, all cannot be included in this digest. The exercises that are included are selected by the author for their strategic significance, particularly large scale, involvement of numerous units and locations, and/or involvement of other nations’ territories under the Russian occupation.

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