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

Washington Post reports that forces of the 1st Tank Army (HQ in Bakovka, Moscow Oblast) and the 41st Army (HQ in Novosibirsk) have been deployed near the eastern borders of Ukraine in Voronezh and Smolensk Oblasts. Among the units in question belonging to the 41st Army are forces of the 90th Tank Division (HQ in Chebarkul, Chelyabinsk Oblast). Janes reported presence of forces from the 138th Mechanized Brigade (Kamenka, Leningrad Oblast) of the 6th Army (HQ in Agalatovo, Leningrad Oblast) in Kursk Oblast near Ukraine’s border, and of the 58th Army’s (HQ in Vladikavkaz, Republic of North Ossetia-Alania) 19th Mechanized Division (HQ in Sputnik, Republic of North Ossetia-Alania) and 291st Artillery Brigade [mistakenly called 281st by Janes] (Troitskaya, Republic of Ingushetia) in occupied Crimea. Other sources have also reported presence in Kursk Oblast of the 6th Army’s 25th Mechanized Brigade (Luga, Leningrad Oblast and Pskov).

War in Ukraine – Four Ukrainian military service members were wounded by the Russian hybrid forces on the Donbas frontline during the week of 6-12 December 2021.

War in Syria – Russian air force conducted strikes in the Syrian rebel-held Idlib region on 6 and 11 December 2021.

Russian military officers continue to train the Assad regime’s fighters in Syria, near the frontline in the Syrian rebel-held Idlib region.

Russia in Libya – A high-level official in the Tripoli government claimed that over 7,000 Russian Wagner Group mercenaries were operating in Libya, and that their equipment included about 30 warplanes on military bases in Sirte and al-Jufra.

Russia in sub-Saharan Africa – Russian Wagner Group fighters continued to operate in the Central African Republic, having helped government forces to retake Kouango town in the south of the country from the rebels.

Two fighters from Poland intercepted a Russian Il-20 reconnaissance aircraft over the Baltic Sea on 8 December 2021.

Russian Su-27 fighters intercepted three military planes from France over the Black Sea on 8 December 2021. Three French and two U.S. planes were intercepted over the same sea by three Su-27s on 9 December, and a Russian Su-30 fighter intercepted a U.S. plane on 10 December.


Rearmament and Modernization

The 277th Bomber Regiment (Khurba air base, Khabarovsk Krai) of the 303rd Mixed Aviation Division (HQ in Khurba, Khabarovsk Krai), the 11th Air and Air Defense Forces Army (HQ in Khabarovsk) received several additional Su-34 fighter-bombers.


30 T-72B3M tanks were added to the equipment of the 201st Military Base (mechanized division with HQ in Dushanbe, Tajikistan).

Naval infantry units of the Pacific Fleet received over 20 T-80BV tanks.

Russian armed forces reportedly received batches of modernized TOS-1A thermobaric multiple rocket launchers, and Mi-8AMTSh-VN transport and attack helicopters.

Mi-8AMTSh-VN helicopter



The Black Sea Fleet’s Admiral Grigorovich / Project 11356P/M class guided missile frigate Admiral Grigorovich and Project 22160 class large patrol ship Dmitry Rogachev held a joint exercise with Egypt’s navy near the Egyptian Mediterranean coast.


Arms Exports

Russia has launched deliveries of S-400 surface-to-air missile systems to India.

Russia and India have agreed joint production of 600,000 AK-203 assault rifles for the Indian armed forces, to be produced in India.

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

Philippines government is launching acquisitions of Russian Mi-171 transport helicopters for its armed forces. Overall, Manila is to get 16 helicopters.


*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.