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

War in Syria – Russian air force conducted a major strike in the Idlib region on 26 October 2020. Between 50 and 78 Turkish-backed Syrian rebels reportedly were killed in the air strike on a training camp, with dozens more wounded.

War in Ukraine – Two Ukrainian soldiers were killed and three were wounded by the Russian hybrid forces on the frontline in Donbass, during the week of 26 October-1 November 2020.

President of Azerbaijan, Ilham Aliyev, has claimed that Russia is supplying arms to Armenia during the presently ongoing war between the two countries over Nagorno-Karabakh.

Russia began deliveries of the T-72MS tanks to Serbia, as a part of its military aid program. 30 tanks are set to be delivered overall. The aid package also includes six MiG-29 fighters and 30 BRDM-2MS armored reconnaissance vehicles.

One of the Russian tanks delivered to Serbia

Belarus and Russia have announced that a major military exercise Zapad-2021 will be held next year in Belarus.

A Russian Su-27 fighter intercepted two France’s military planes over the Black Sea on 26 October 2020. On the same day, another Su-27 intercepted planes from the U.S. and Germany over the Baltic Sea.

The Pacific Fleet’s flagship, Slava / Project 1164 Atlant class guided missile cruiser Varyag and Udaloy I / Project 1155 Fregat class anti-submarine destroyer Admiral Panteleyev left Vladivostok for a long-range expedition in the Indo-Pacific region.


Rearmament and Modernization

Russian military has launched deliveries of the T-72B3 tanks to the units based on the disputed Kuril Islands.

Mechanized units of the Baltic Fleet’s 11th Army Corps (HQ in Kaliningrad) have received 30 T-72B3M tanks in 2020.



Mongolia’s troops crossed into Russia for the annual joint exercise Selenga-2020. About 650 troops of the 36th Army’s (HQ in Ulan-Ude, Republic of Buryatia) 37th Mechanized Brigade (Kyakhta, Republic of Buryatia) participated from the Russian side.


*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.