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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Geostrategic Activities

War in Ukraine – Three Ukrainian military service members were wounded by the Russian hybrid forces on the Donbas frontline during the week of 11-17 October 2021.

War in Syria – Russian air force conducted a strike in the Turkish zone of influence in northern Syria, near Marea city, on 12 October 2021. On 13 October, Russians lost an Orlan-10 drone near Marea.

Russian Orlan-10 drone downed in the Turkish zone of influence near Marea

The Pacific Fleet’s Udaloy I / Project 1155 Fregat class anti-submarine destroyer Admiral Tributs approached U.S. destroyer operating in the international waters in the western part of the Sea of Japan on 15 October 2021, coming within 60 meters of her.

A Russian MiG-31 fighter intercepted a U.S. bomber over the Sea of Japan on 17 October.

Russia in Africa – 11 Russian contractors reportedly have been killed in the Central African Republic since August 2021.

The Arctic Game – The 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, completed its voyage and returned to the Northern Fleet’s main naval base in Severomorsk on 14 October.


Military Strategy

According to Russian information, about 20,000 reservists have been trained recently in the Southern Military District under the new Russian reserve organization project, the Battle Army Reserve of the Country (BARS).


Rearmament and Modernization

A batch of S-500 surface-to-air missile systems has reportedly been delivered to the Russian forces in Moscow Oblast.

Improved Kilo / Project 636.3 class diesel submarine Magadan joined the Pacific Fleet on 12 October 2021. It is presently located in the Baltic Sea and is set to move to the Pacific in 2022.

Magadan submarine during the commissioning ceremony

New naval air defense system Pantsir-M was tested in an experimental exercise in the Black Sea, by the Black Sea Fleet’s Tarantul / Project 12417 class corvette R-71 Shuya.



The navies of Russia and China held a joint exercise in the Sea of Japan. From the Russian side in the exercise reportedly participated the Pacific Fleet’s Udaloy I / Project 1155 Fregat class anti-submarine destroyer Admiral PanteleyevSteregushchiy / Project 20380 class corvettes Aldar Tsydenzhapov and GromkiyKilo / Project 877 Paltus class diesel submarine Ust-Bolsheretsk, as well as another corvette and two minesweepers. Chinese navy was reportedly represented by two destroyers, two corvettes and a diesel submarine. The naval aviation from both countries also took part in the exercise.

Chinese sailors participating in the joint exercise with the Russians

About 8,000 troops of the Southern Military District took part in exercises held in southern Russia, North Caucasus, ArmeniaGeorgia’s occupied regions of Abkhazia and Tskhinvali, and in the waters of the Black and Caspian Seas.

Russia and Serbia held joint air defense and air force exercises on the Serbian territory. Among other forces, Russians sent an anti-aircraft unit armed with Pantsir-S air defense systems to Serbia for the exercises. One of events during the exercises involved creation of a joint Russian-Serbian air defense group with a task of protecting Belgrade and central Serbia from air attack.


*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.