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

According to the former chief of the Russian Navy Main Staff, Admiral Viktor Kravchenko, the Russian large-scale naval exercise in the central part of the Pacific Ocean (reported below in the Exercises section of this issue) was a geopolitical move. Kravchenko noted that the area of the exercise was in “the middle part of the Pacific Ocean – the movement routes of the aircraft carrier groups.” He added: “We are showing capabilities of the Pacific Fleet to the USA, to Japan, to everyone including NATO which has become interested in the Asian military theater.”

Russia is reportedly preparing “to supply Iran with an advanced satellite system that will give Tehran an unprecedented ability to track potential military targets across the Middle East and beyond.” The satellite in question is Kanopus-V. Vladimir Putin denied these reports.

War in Ukraine – One Ukrainian service member was killed and one was wounded by the Russian hybrid forces on the Donbas frontline during the week of 7-13 June 2021.

War in Syria – Russian air force conducted strikes in the Syrian rebel-held Idlib region on 10 June 2021.

Russian planes violated Denmark’s air space twice on 11 June 2021. The incidents occurred in the Baltic Sea, near the Danish island of Bornholm.

A Russian Su-35 fighter intercepted a U.S. plane in the Pacific Ocean on 10 June 2021.

As reported on 9 June 2021, two of Italy’s fighters intercepted a Russian Su-30SM fighter and an An-12 transport aircraft in the Baltic Sea, near the coast of Estonia.

Russian Su-30SM and Italian F-35A fighters during the intercept


Rearmament and Modernization

Russian air force has begun arming its MiG-31BM interceptor fighters with new R-74M air-to-air missiles.

The 247th Air Assault Regiment (Stavropol) of the 7th Air Assault Division (Mountain) (HQ in Novorossiysk, Krasnodar Krai) received a battalion’s batch of BMD-4M infantry fighting vehicles and BTR-MD Rakushka amphibious armored personnel carriers.

The armored vehicles delivered to the 247th Air Assault Regiment



The Russian Pacific Fleet held a large-scale exercise in the central part of the Pacific Ocean. About 20 surface ships took part along with submarines and about 20 aircraft. Among the participating vessels were the Pacific Fleet’s flagship Slava / Project 1164 Atlant class guided missile cruiser VaryagUdaloy I / Project 1155 Fregat class anti-submarine destroyers Admiral Panteleyev and Marshal Shaposhnikov as well as Steregushchiy / Project 20380 class corvettes Aldar TsydenzhapovGromkiy and Sovershennyy and Marshal Nedelin/ Project 1914 class tracking/missile range instrumentation ship Marshal Krylov. The aircraft included Tu-142M3 maritime reconnaissance and anti-submarine warfare (ASW) aircraft, MiG-31BM fighters and Ka-27PL anti-submarine warfare helicopters.

About 20 vessels including submarines took part in an exercise of the Northern Fleet, led by the flagship, Kirov / Project 1144 Orlan class heavy guided missile cruiser Pyotr Velikiy.

Russia, Belarus and Serbia held a joint airborne landing exercise near Novorossiysk, Krasnodar Krai. Special Forces troops from Belarus and Serbia participated.

Russian engineer troops took part in a joint exercise with the Serbian armed forces, held in Serbia from 26 May to 11 June 2021.

A joint exercise of the Special Forces of Uzbekistan and Russia’s Central Military District was held in Krasnoyarsk Krai.

About 4,000 troops from various units of the 58th Army (HQ in Vladikavkaz) held exercises in the Russian North Caucasus and Georgia’s Russian-occupied Tskhinvali Region. About 100 Russian reconnaissance troops held an exercise in another Georgian occupied region, Abkhazia.

Air defense units and the naval aviation of the Black Sea Fleet held an air defense exercise in occupied Crimea, Ukraine.


Arms Exports

Reportedly, Russia has lately sold military equipment to 17 states of the sub-Saharan Africa.


*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.