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 – One Ukrainian serviceman and one civilian were wounded by the Russian hybrid forces on the Donbass frontline during the week of 14-20 December 2020.

Russia in Africa – Russia has reportedly deployed “several hundred soldiers and heavy weapons” to the Central African Republic (CAR) to support the country’s government which is engaged in heavy fighting against a rebel alliance.

According to Russian sources, the Black Sea Fleet’s Improved Kilo / Project 636.3 class diesel submarine Krasnodar will serve in the Russian naval squadron in the Mediterranean Sea for at least a year.

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, on a long-range expedition in the Indo-Pacific region since 1 November 2020, visited Indonesia’s city of Surabaya, on the island of Java, on 14-17 December 2020.

The Baltic Fleet’s Steregushchiy / Project 20380 class corvette Stoikiy left the Baltiysk naval base for a long-range expedition, which will continue for half year, in the Atlantic and Indian Oceans and the Mediterranean Sea.



Rearmament and Modernization

Ivan Gren / Project 11711 class landing ship Petr Morgunov joined the Russian navy on 15 December 2020. It will serve with the Northern Fleet, at the Polyarny naval base.

Nebo-UM type air and missile defense radar station began to function in Rostov Oblast, near the city of Rostov.

The 55th Mechanized (Mountain) Brigade (Kyzyl, Tyva Republic) of the 41st Army (HQ in Novosibirsk) received Orlan-10 reconnaissance UAVs.

The 21st Mechanized (Heavy) Brigade (Totskoye, Orenburg Oblast) of the 2nd Army (HQ in Samara) received 15 modernized BMP-2M infantry fighting vehicles.



According to the U.S. Space Command, Russia test-fired Nudol direct-ascent anti-satellite missile from the Plesetsk Cosmodrome.



Russian artillery and grenade launcher troops in occupied Tskhinvali Region, Georgia, conducted exercises. Armed groups of Russia’s proxy regime in Tskhinvali took part in the artillery exercise together with the Russians.


*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.