Author: David Batashvili

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.

For a comprehensive geographic view of the Russian military structure see our Interactive Map of the Russian Military Forces.


Geostrategic Activities

War in Ukraine – On 18 February 2020, Russian hybrid forces conducted an attack on the Ukrainian positions, attempting to advance on the portion of the frontline near towns Orikhove and Novotoshkivske in Luhansk Oblast, Ukraine. The resulting battle continued for several hours, ending in a stalemate. Shooting on the frontline in Donbass occurred every day of the week of 17-23 February 2020. One Ukrainian soldier was killed and nine were wounded during the week, all except three wounded – in the battle near Orikhove.

The current frontline in Donbass and the location of the battle on 18 February

War in Syria – Russian air force conducted numerous daily airstrikes against the rebel-held territory in the Idlib region during the week of 17-23 February 2020, in support of the land offensive by the Assad regime and other Iranian-backed forces. Civilian casualties have again been reported as a result of the Russian strikes. In the north-eastern Syria, a new incident occurred between the US and Russian troops, with an American military vehicle pushing a Russian one off the road near the city of Qamishli. Another incident with American troops blocking the movement of Russians was also reported.

The Baltic Fleet’s Steregushchiy / Project 20380 class corvette Stoikiy and Ropucha / Project 775/III landing ship Korolev, with units of naval infantry aboard, left their Baltiysk naval base in Kaliningrad Oblast to go on a long distance voyage in the Atlantic.

Corvette Stoikiy. Source: Rossiyskaya Gazeta



Russian Meridian-M military communication satellite was delivered to the orbit after a launch from the Plesetsk Cosmodrome.



Mechanized units of the 58th Army (HQ in Vladikavkaz, Republic of North Ossetia-Alania), based in the Russian eastern North Caucasus and Georgia’s Russian-occupied Tskhinvali Region, conducted series of exercises. The drills involved 1,700 troops, as well as UAVs and military helicopters.

A joint Russia-Belarus exercise was held in Russia’s Pskov Oblast. Troops of the Russian 76th Air Assault Division (HQ in Pskov) and Belarusian Special Operations Forces participated.

Over 11,000 troops from the Eastern Military District’s artillery and missile units took part in the drills held on the district’s 13 firing grounds in various regions of Russia’s Far East.

Troops of the Black Sea Fleet’s 22nd Army Corps (HQ in Simferopol, occupied Crimea, Ukraine) conducted an amphibious landing exercise. Also in Crimea were held drills of the artillery units from the 7th Air Assault Division (Mountain) (HQ in Novorossiysk, Krasnodar Krai).


Arms Exports

Serbia has received the first batch of Pantsir-S1 medium-range surface-to-air missile systems from Russia. Serbian President announced the purchase of these systems in October 2019. 


* 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.