Rondeli Russian Military Digest

Rondeli Russian Military Digest: Issue 77, 1 March - 7 March 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.

You can see all issues of Rondeli Russian Military Digest at this page. For your convenience, we have added the Digest Content Search that helps users find the digest’s issues containing information they need using key words and phrases.

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


Geostrategic Activities

War in Ukraine – 11 Ukrainian servicemen were wounded in Donbass during the week of 1-7 March 2021. Russian hybrid forces opened fire every day of the week.

War in Syria – Russian air force conducted strikes against Syrian rebel-held Idlib region on 5 March 2021. In another development, claims were voiced in some sources that last week’s missile strikes against oil refineries in the Turkish zone of influence in northern Syria were carried out by the Russians.

A Syrian source claimed that Russian forces were in the process of setting up a new military base north of Palmyra, Syria.

Defense Ministers of Russia and Belarus have agreed to establish three joint military training centers. The centers are to be located in Russia’s Kaliningrad and Nizhny Novgorod Oblasts, and in Grodno Oblast of Belarus.

A Russian Su-27 fighter reportedly intercepted two U.S. military planes over the Baltic Sea on 3 March 2021. According to Russian sources, during February 2021, NATO fighters “followed” Russian planes over the Baltic Sea on six occasions.


Structural Changes

It has been confirmed that the new Russian division in Kaliningrad Oblast which, as we reported, had been established on 1 December 2020, is named the 18th Mechanized Division. It belongs to the Baltic Fleet’s 11th Army Corps.


Rearmament and Modernization

Russian Defense Ministry reportedly received a new batch of T-90M tanks.


The commissioning of the Yasen / Project 885 class nuclear-powered submarine Kazan, which was supposed to join the Northern Fleet on 26 February 2021, has been delayed to conduct additional trials.

Troops of the Russian Special Operations Forces (SSO) (Senezh and Kubinka-2, Moscow Oblast) were spotted using Italian Beretta ARX160 assault rifles.

A Russian Tu-214ON plane (see Issue 70) was reported to be used for the first time in its official capacity as a reconnaissance aircraft. Its first mission, on 4 March 2021, reportedly was to check the quality of concealment of Russian military installations in Krasnodar Krai and occupied Crimea, Ukraine, and to test Russian air defense assets in this area.

The route of the Tu-214ON reconnaissance aircraft on 4 March



Over 4,500 troops from artillery and Iskander-M missile units of the 58th Army (HQ in Vladikavkaz, Republic of North Ossetia-Alania) exercised in the east of North Caucasus and in Georgia’s Russian-occupied Tskhinvali Region.

About 300 Russian mechanized troops held an exercise in occupied Tskhinvali Region, Georgia.


*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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