|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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War in Ukraine – Following a declaration of ceasefire that went into force on the Donbass frontline on 27 July 2020, the number of shooting incidents on the frontline has decreased. Nevertheless, such incidents occurred every day during the week of 27 July-2 August. Two Ukrainian servicemen were injured on the frontline on 1 August, apparently for reasons other than the fire by the Russian hybrid forces.
Twice during the week of 27 July-2 August, Britain’s Royal Air Force jets deployed in Lithuania intercepted Russian aircraft over the Baltic Sea. The intercepted Russian planes were Su-27 fighters in the first incident, and an Il-38 maritime patrol and anti-submarine warfare aircraft, escorted by two Su-27s, in the second. Russian planes intercepted the U.S. aircraft over the Black Sea on 27, 30 and 31 July. Su-27 fighters participated in these incidents from the Russian side.
On 28 July, Finland’s Defense Ministry reported that two Russian Su-27 fighters had violated Finnish airspace over the Gulf of Finland near Helsinki.
Russian Il-38 plane intercepted by the British fighters over the Baltic Sea
On 1 August 2020, the Pacific Fleet’s Udaloy I / Project 1155 Fregat class anti-submarine destroyers Admiral Tributs and Admiral Vinogradov left Vladivostok for a long-range voyage. The two warships will reportedly operate in the Asia-Pacific region.
Construction of a “military sector” in the airport of Makhachkala, Republic of Dagestan, has been set to begin in 2021. Reportedly, a flight of fighters has already been stationed at the airport.
Rearmament and Modernization
Russian armed forces have begun receiving new Typhoon-VDV armored vehicles for testing. The vehicles reportedly are designed to be parachuted and are to be delivered to the Russian Airborne Troops (VDV).
Typhoon-VDV armored vehicle
Over 14,000 troops of the Western Military District, including the Baltic Fleet, took part in a series of exercises that were conducted in eight administrative regions of the central and western Russia. The regions included Moscow, Leningrad, Kaliningrad, Nizhny Novgorod, Voronezh, Bryansk, Belgorod and Smolensk Oblasts.
Over 5,000 troops of the Southern Military District conducted exercises in the Russian Federation’s regions of Dagestan, Chechnya and North Ossetia-Alania, as well as Georgia’s occupied regions Abkhazia and Tskhinvali. Troops of the same district’s 8th Army (HQ in Novocherkassk, Rostov Oblast) launched a separate snap exercise in Rostov and Volgograd Oblasts.
Over 20 ships of the Black Sea Fleet conducted a naval exercise. The participating ships included Admiral Grigorovich / Project 11356P/M class frigate Admiral Essen, Krivak II / Project 1135M Burevestnik M class frigate Pytlivy, Buyan-M / Project 21631 class missile corvettes Ingushetia and Orekhovo-Zuyevo, Project 22160 class large patrol ship Dmitry Rogachev, Alligator / Project 1171 Tapir class amphibious transport dock Saratov, and Ropucha-I / Project 775 class landing ship Caesar Kunikov.
Russian military forces based in Armenia staged a land and air exercise. Over 1,500 Russian troops took part, along with MiG-29 fighters, military helicopters and UAVs.
An air force exercise was conducted by the Russian fighter jets based in occupied Crimea, Ukraine and Russia’s Krasnodar Krai.
*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.