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

Russia reportedly continued to send additional military forces to areas near Ukraine’s border.

War in Ukraine – Three Ukrainian military service members were wounded by the Russian hybrid forces on the Donbas frontline during the week of 13-19 December 2021.

Two Russian Tu-22M3 long-range strategic bombers conducted a patrol of the air space of Belarus on 18 December 2021. The Russian bombers were reportedly escorted by Belarusian Su-30SM fighters.

On 16 December 2021, Russian parliament ratified the agreement on establishing a joint air defense structure with Tajikistan. Russian forces within the joint structure are to be under the Central Military District command.

Russia gifted a batch of military engineer equipment to Uganda.


Rearmament and Modernization

Three new Su-35S fighters were delivered to the 4th State Centre for Combat Application and Training of Air Crews (Lipetsk-2 air base, Lipetsk Oblast).

The three new Su-35S fighters



S-400 surface-to-air missile systems the 31st Air Defense Division (HQ in Sevastopol, occupied Crimea, Ukraine), the 4th Air and Air Defense Forces Army (HQ in Rostov-on-Don) conducted an exercise. Another exercise in Crimea was held by the Bastion-P mobile coastal defense missile systems of the Black Sea Fleet’s 15th Coastal Missile Artillery Brigade together with the Fleet’s naval and air forces.



A major fire occurred on the Gremyashchiy / Project 20385 class corvette Provornyy that is under construction in Saint Petersburg for the Pacific Fleet. The corvette was scheduled to join the Russian navy in late 2022, which has become highly unlikely as a result of the fire.

Consequences of the fire

*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.