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.


Geostrategic Activities

War in Ukraine – Shooting continued throughout the week of 26 August-1 September on the frontline in Donbass, Ukraine. One Ukrainian serviceman was killed and three were wounded during the week by the Russian hybrid forces, according to the Ukrainian Joint Forces Operation Press Center.

War in Syria – The Russia-Iran-Assad coalition’s strikes against the rebels in the wider Idlib region abated (although they did not stop completely) after a ceasefire was declared in the morning of 31 August. According to a variety of sources collected by the Live Universal Awareness Map, during the part of the week prior to 31 August, the Russian aircraft conducted air strikes in the northern Latakia countryside, as well as on the cities of Idlib and Maarat al-Numan, and the towns of Biskla, Jarjnaz and Kafr Nabl. Syrian rebels also reported operations by the Russian Special Forces on the frontline north of the town of Kafr Nabudah.

War in Syria – Russian media reported infrastructure development at the Russian Khmeimim air base in Syria, with Russians having constructed closed hangars for their aircraft at the base.


Rearmament and Modernization

The 200th Mechanized Brigade (based in Pechenga, Luostari and Korzunovo, Murmansk Oblast) of the Russian Northern Fleet’s land forces received Tor-M2DT short-range air defense missile systems.

Tor-M2DT air defense missile systemSource: Russian Exercises

Russians announced the launch of serial production of MiG-35 multirole fighters.

An upgraded Mi-24P-1M model of the Mi-24P attack helicopter was unveiled by Russians in Zhukovsky, Moscow Oblast.

Russian armed forces began to receive a new Udav pistol.



A Russian military satellite was launched into orbit from the Plesetsk Cosmodrome (in Mirny, Arkhangelsk Oblast). The satellite is under the control of the Russian Space Forces.



Forces of the Russian Southern Military District conducted a military exercise on 26-31 August. The exercise took place in Astrakhan, Rostov and Volgograd Oblasts, Krasnodar and Stavropol Krais, and the Russian-occupied Crimea, Ukraine. The 58th Army, the 49th Army, the 8th Army, the Black Sea Fleet, the Caspian Flotillathe 4th Air and Air Defense Forces Army and units of the Special Forces participated in the exercise. Notably, the whole 58th Army and parts of the 49th Army are based in the Caucasus area, south of the listed regions where the exercise was conducted. These forces moved north and north-west for the exercise, making it likely the rationale of the drills was to prepare the Southern Military District’s forces for a possible future rapid deployment against Ukraine.

The forces of the Northern Fleet, the Airborne Troops and the Central Military District conducted another exercise in the area near the towns of Dudinka and Norilsk, on the Taymyr Peninsula in the extreme north of Krasnoyarsk Krai. Other exercises had been conducted in the area during the previous weeks.

Russian troops exercising in the Arctic region of Taymyr. Source: Russian Defense Ministry Facebook page

A large-scale logistics exercise was conducted in the Central Military District. The logistics units from the other three Russian military districts and the Airborne Troops also took part. According to the Russians, about 30 thousand of servicemen and civilians participated in the exercise.

The naval infantry, warships and the naval aviation of the Baltic Fleet conducted a naval infantry landing exercise in Kaliningrad Oblast.


Arms Exports

On 27 August, Russia started delivery of the second shipment of S-400 surface-to-air missile systems to Turkey. Delivery of the first one had been completed in July 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.