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 – One Ukrainian military service member was killed and seven were wounded by the Russian hybrid forces on the Donbas frontline during the week of 27 September-3 October 2021.

War in Syria – Russian air force conducted strikes in the Syrian rebel-held Idlib region on 1 October 2021.

Russia in Africa – Four military helicopters and other weapons were delivered by Russia to Mali on 30 September 2021. While the helicopters reportedly had been bought by the Mali government, the rest of the delivered equipment was gifted by Moscow. Two of the helicopters are Mi-8AMTSh (also called Mi-171Sh) transport and attack helicopters, and another two – Mi-17V-5 transport helicopters.

Reported route of the Russian cargo plane delivering military equipment to Mali

The Northern Fleet’s Udaloy I / Project 1155 Fregat class anti-submarine destroyer Vice-Admiral Kulakov, operating in the Atlantic Ocean since 23 September 2021 after entering it from the Mediterranean Seastayed in Cape Verde’s capital Praia on 29 September-1 October 2021. Its subsequent plans reportedly involved operating in the “central and eastern Atlantic.”

The Arctic Game – A group of the Northern Fleet ships including Udaloy I / Project 1155 Fregat class anti-submarine destroyer Severomorsk and Ropucha / Project 775 class landing ship Georgiy Pobedonosets, on a long-range expedition in the Arctic region since 10 August 2021, turned back to begin voyage towards their home bases, crossing from the Laptev Sea into the Kara Sea by 1 October 2021.

A Russian Su-27 fighter intercepted a U.S. plane over the Black Sea on 28 September 2021.


Structural Changes

According to Russian reports, the Pacific Fleet’s new Gremyashchiy / Project 20385 class corvette Gremyashchiy is likely to serve at the Vladivostok naval base instead of the Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky naval base as had been intended previously.


Rearmament and Modernization

Batches of Mi-28NM anti-armor attack helicopters and Msta-SM self-propelled howitzers have been delivered to the Russian armed forces according to Russian reports.

Over 30 9K333 Verba man-portable air-defense systems (MANPADS) were delivered to the 138th Mechanized Brigade (Kamenka, Leningrad Oblast) of the 6th Army (HQ in Agalatovo, Leningrad Oblast).

The 15th Mechanized Brigade (Roshchinsky, Samara Oblast) of the 2nd Army (HQ in Samara) has been fully re-equipped with AK-12 assault rifles. The 15th Brigade provides troops for the Russian peacekeeping forces stationed in Nagorno-Karabakh, Azerbaijan.



2,000 troops of the 7th Air Assault (Mountain) Division (HQ in Novorossiysk, Krasnodar Krai) held an exercise in occupied Crimea, Ukraine. During the same period, Russian air and naval forces based in Crimea also held exercises.

Special Forces troops from Pakistan and Russian 49th Army (HQ in Stavropol) held a joint exercise in Molkino, Krasnodar Krai.

Pakistani SF in Russia

1,500 Russian and Mongolian troops held an exercise in Mongolia. Participating Russian forces belonged to the 36th Army (HQ Ulan-Ude, Republic of Buryatia).

The first joint Russia-Algeria exercise was launched on 3 October 2021 in North Ossetia-Alania.


Arms Exports

The first batch of Russian BTR-82A armored personnel carriers was delivered to Belarus.


*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.