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.

You can see all issues of Rondeli Russian Military Digest at this page. For your convenience, we have added the Digest Content Search that helps users find the digest’s issues containing information they need using key words and phrases.

For a comprehensive geographic view of the Russian military structure see our Interactive Map of the Russian Military Forces.


Geostrategic Activities

War in Ukraine – Fire was opened daily on the Donbass frontline during the week of 15-21 February 2021, and included the use of 122 mm caliber artillery by the Russian hybrid forces. Ukrainian forces reported no casualties during the week.

War in Ukraine – Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) reportedly spotted an advanced Russian Kasta-2E1 radar system in Donbass, 37 kilometers southwest of Luhansk.

Two Russian Su-27 fighters intercepted a group of France’s three military planes over the Black Sea, on 17 February 2021.

Following a joint Russian-Iranian naval exercise in the Gulf of Oman, the Baltic Fleet’s Steregushchiy / Project 20380 class corvette Stoikiy, on a long-range expedition since 16 December 2020, stopped at Oman’s port of Salalah on 20 February 2021.



Structural Changes

A new battalion of S-400 surface-to-air missile systems has been established in the 1724th Anti-Aircraft Missile Regiment (Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk, Sakhalin Oblast).


Rearmament and Modernization

Russians claimed that they have experimentally used Russian kamikaze UAVs in combat in Syria.

According to the Russians, they are going to replace all of their Dnepr, Daryal and Volga type radar stations with Voronezh type early-warning radars.



Russia and Iran held a joint naval exercise on 15-16 February 2021. The exercise reportedly took place in the Gulf of Oman, with the participation of the Iranian navy as well as the naval Special Forces of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps. The Baltic Fleet’s Steregushchiy / Project 20380 class corvette Stoikiy, on a long-range expedition since 16 December 2020, participated from the Russian side.

Over 5,000 troops took part in simultaneous exercises held by various units of the Central Military District. The exercises involved the 90th Tank Division (HQ in Chebarkul, Chelyabinsk Oblast), the 201st Military Base (HQ in Dushanbe, Tajikistan), the 35th Mechanized Brigade (Aleysk, Altai Krai) and the 74th Mechanized Brigade (Yurga, Kemerovo Oblast) of the 41st Army (HQ in Novosibirsk), as well as the 21st Mechanized (Heavy) Brigade (Totskoye, Orenburg Oblast) and the 30th Mechanized Brigade (Roshchinsky, Samara Oblast) of the 2nd Army (HQ in Samara).

Dozens of various Russian artillery systems of the Black Sea Fleet’s ground forces were reportedly involved in a large-scale artillery exercise held in occupied Crimea, Ukraine.

Russian forces conducted a sniper exercise in Georgia’s occupied Tskhinvali Region, and an anti-UAV exercise in Abkhazia.


Arms Exports

According to the Pakistani army, Russia and Pakistan have signed agreements on the export of Russian anti-tank systemsair defense systems and small arms.


*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.