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

During the week of 24-30 January 2022, Russia continued concentration of its armed forces towards Ukraine. Numerous sources indicated Russian troops’ movements in various parts of Russia, in Belarus and in occupied Crimea. As a part of these movements, the Russian Eastern Military District’s forces continued to enter Belarus. U.S. Secretary of Defense, Lloyd Austin, said on 28 January that “the buildup of Russian forces along Ukraine’s border has reached the point where President Vladimir Putin now has a complete range of military options.” According to the Pentagon, Russia further increased the number of its troops on Ukraine’s border during the weekend of 29-30.

According to a summary offered by an unofficial Russian source, the Russian forces already inside or moving into Belarus include those from: the 36th Army’s (Ulan-Ude, Republic of Buryatia) 37th Mechanized Brigade5th Tank Brigade and 103rd Missile Brigade; the 29th Army’s (HQ in Chita, Zabaykalsky Krai) 36th Mechanized Brigade and 200th Artillery Brigade; the 35th Army’s (HQ in Belogorsk, Amur Oblast) 38th Mechanized Brigade64th Mechanized Brigade69th Covering Brigade165th Artillery Brigade and 107th Missile Brigade; the 5th Army’s (HQ in Ussuriysk, Primorsky Krai) 57th Mechanized Brigade114th Mechanized Regiment and 394th Mechanized Regiment; the Pacific Fleet’s 155th Naval Infantry Brigade (Vladivostok); the 76th Air Assault Division’s (HQ in Pskov) 234th Air Assault Regiment and 124th Separate Tank Battalion; the 98th Airborne Division’s (HQ in Ivanovo) 217th Airborne Regiment; the 11th Air Assault Brigade (Sosnovyy Bor, Republic of Buryatia). The Eastern Military District headquarters arrived in Belarus as well. According to another source, Russia also deployed to Belarus forces of the 45th Special Forces Brigade (Kubinka, Moscow Oblast).

Commander of the Russian Eastern Military District in Brest, Belarus

War in Ukraine – Three Ukrainian military service members were wounded by the Russian hybrid forces on the Donbas frontline during the week of 24-30 January 2022.

Russia announced that in early February 2022 it would concentrate for an exercise in the Mediterranean Sea a naval force comprising ships from all the four fleets of the Russian navyThe Northern Fleet’s ships moving towards the Mediterranean included Slava / Project 1164 Atlant class guided missile cruiser Marshal UstinovUdaloy I / Project 1155 Fregat class anti-submarine destroyer Vice-Admiral Kulakov, and Admiral Gorshkov / Project 22350 class frigate Admiral Kasatonov. The Pacific Fleet’s Slava / Project 1164 Atlant class guided missile cruiser Varyag and Udaloy I / Project 1155 Fregat class anti-submarine destroyer Admiral Tributs, operating in the Arabian Sea, also moved towards the Mediterranean.

A group of six Russian landing ships gathered in the Mediterranean Sea. The group included the Baltic Fleet’s Ropucha / Project 775 class landing ships KaliningradKorolev and Minsk, as well as the Northern Fleet’s Ropucha / Project 775 class Georgiy Pobedonosets and Olenegorskiy Gornyak with the Ivan Gren / Project 11711 class landing ship Pyotr Morgunov. Reportedly, another Russian ship present in the Mediterranean was the Baltic Fleet’s Vishnya / Meridian / Project 864 class intelligence collection ship Vasiliy Tatischev.

Approximation of the Russian ships’ location in the Mediterranean Sea as of 30 January 2022

On 24 January, the Baltic Fleet’s Steregushchiy / Project 20380 class corvettes Soobrazitelnyy and Stoikiy left their base in Baltiysk for a long-range voyage.


Rearmament and Modernization

The 4th Maritime Attack Aviation Regiment (Chkalovsk air base, Kaliningrad Oblast) of the Baltic Fleet Naval Aviation’s 34th Mixed Aviation Division received four new Su-30SM2 fighters.



The navies of Russia and China conducted a joint exercise in the western Arabian Sea. From the Russian side, the Pacific Fleet’s Slava / Project 1164 Atlant class guided missile cruiser Varyag and Udaloy I / Project 1155 Fregat class anti-submarine destroyer Admiral Tributs took part in the exercise.

*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.