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 Ukraine – Two Ukrainian servicemen were wounded by the Russian hybrid forces on the frontline in Donbass during the week of 2-8 November 2020, amid numerous ceasefire violations.

War in Syria – Russian air force conducted strikes in the Idlib region on 7 November 2020.

War in Libya – A new Wagner unit was reported to arrive at the frontline near the city of Sirte, deploying a radar.

Russia reportedly gifted a training boat to Sudan in October 2020. The boat belonged to the Baltic Fleet.

The Northern Fleet’s Udaloy I / Project 1155 Fregat class anti-submarine destroyer Severomorsk operated for days near Britain’s Lossiemouth air base, in Scotland. The base is the home of the British P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft.

Two Russian Vishnya / Meridian / Project 864 class intelligence collection ships were also spotted near the Lossiemouth air base. The Russian Northern Fleet has two Vishnya class ships operating from the Polyarny naval base – Tavriya and Viktor Leonov.

Russian intelligence ships and the Lossiemouth air base. Image by the Naval News


Structural Changes

Russia is moving its Murmansk-BN electronic warfare (long-range communications jamming) systems closer to the border of Finland.


Rearmament and Modernization

Russia has launched the process of rearming its Airborne Troops (VDV) with the Kornet anti-tank guided missiles.

A Russian modernized Tu-160M2 heavy strategic bomber made its first flight with the new NK-32-02 engines.

Tu-160M2 during the flight



Joint Russia-Pakistan exercise was launched on 5 November 2020. Over 70 Special Forces troops from the Southern Military District’s 49th Army (HQ in Stavropol) went to Pakistan for the event. The exercise is held annually, with the present one being the fifth.


*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.