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 killed and four were wounded by the Russian hybrid forces on the Donbas frontline during the week of 1-7 November 2021.

On 3 November 2021, Ukraine’s Ministry of Defense estimated that the number of Russian troops remaining near the Ukrainian border was 90,000. According to Janes analysts, Russian military movements near Ukraine “do appear to be outside of regular cycles for Russian Ground Troops.”

Russia’s Southern Military District commander stated that new S-350 air defense systems would soon be sent to the Russian units based in occupied Crimea, Ukraine.

War in Syria – Russian air force conducted strikes in the Syrian rebel-held Idlib region on 6 November 2021.

Lithuania’s Ministry of Defense stated on 3 November 2021 that fighters from Denmark and Portugal, stationed in Lithuania as a part of the NATO mission, had intercepted Russian military planes over the Baltic Sea on 18 and 29 October.

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 Sea, returned to Cape Verde’s capital Praia on 5 November 2021, after a stay in the Gulf of Guinea. In a curious coincidence, also on 5 November, an An-140-100 transport aircraft of the Russian Defense Ministry’s 224th Air Detachment made a flight from Cuba to Cape Verde.

The flight of the Russian transport plane


Rearmament and Modernization

The Baltic Fleet’s 11th Army Corps (HQ in Gusev, Kaliningrad Oblast) received a batch of T-72B3M tanks.

AK-12 assault rifles were delivered to the reconnaissance units of the 36th Army (HQ in Ulan-Ude, Republic of Buryatia).



Russian Bastion-P and Bal anti-ship missile units based in occupied Crimea, Ukraine, conducted an exercise. Russians also conducted an anti-UAV exercise in Crimea.


Arms Exports

In 2021, Russia reportedly delivered to Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan batches of Su-30SM fighters, Mi-35M attack helicopters, Buk-M2E anti-aircraft missile systems, BTR-80 and BTR-82A armored personnel carriers, Typhoon-K wheeled armored vehicles, Orlan-10E UAVs and small arms.


*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