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

A Russian large-scale naval exercise in the Pacific Ocean in mid-June 2021, reported in the previous issue of this digest, took placeabout 300-500 miles (480-805 kilometers) west of the Hawaiian Islands. The maneuvers were conducted by various groups of Russian warships that had taken different routes and then converged together in that area. The Pacific Fleet’s flagship Slava / Project 1164 Atlant class guided missile cruiser VaryagUdaloy I / Project 1155 Fregat class anti-submarine destroyer Marshal Shaposhnikov and Steregushchiy / Project 20380 class corvettes Gromkiy and Sovershennyy went through the Tsushima Strait and the East China Sea. These two corvettes then also passed through the Philippine Sea. Marshal Nedelin/ Project 1914 class tracking/missile range instrumentation ship Marshal KrylovUdaloy I / Project 1155 Fregat class anti-submarine destroyer Admiral PanteleyevSteregushchiy / Project 20380 class corvette Aldar TsydenzhapovImproved Yug / Project 862.2 class intelligence collection ship Marshal Gelovani and two missile corvettes (probably of the Tarantul / Project 12411 class) went through the La Pérouse Strait and the Sea of Okhotsk. Russian submarine(s) also took part in the maneuvers. Their number and names were unknown at the time of writing.

War in Ukraine – Two Ukrainian military service members and one civilian were wounded by the Russian hybrid forces on the Donbas frontline during the week of 14-20 June 2021.

The Arctic Game – Russians plan to deploy Il-38 and Il-38N maritime patrol and anti-submarine warfare aircraft for regular patrols of the Arctic areas.

Two Russian Su-35 fighters violated Estonia’s airspace on 15 June 2021, near the island of Hiumaa in the Baltic Sea. According to Estonian reports, it was the fourth such incident in 2021.

On 15 June 2021, two Russian Tu-160 heavy strategic bombers escorted by two Su-35S and two Su-27 fighters conducted a lengthy flight over the Baltic Sea. At various stages of the flight Russian planes were intercepted by fighters from Italy (stationed in Estonia), Denmark and Sweden.

The pair of Tu-160s flying over the Baltic Sea on 15 June 2021


Rearmament and Modernization

Ten BMP-3F infantry fighting vehicles have been delivered to the 155th Naval Infantry Brigade (Vladivostok) of the Pacific Fleet.



Russia, Belarus and Serbia held a joint “Slavic Brotherhood-2021” exercise near Novorossiysk in Krasnodar Krai. It involved 500 troops of the 7th Air Assault (Mountain) Division (HQ in Novorossiysk), 300 troops from the Belarusian Special Forces and 100 troops from Serbia.

Russian occupation troops from the 4th Military Base (a mechanized brigade in Tskhinvali and Java, Georgia) of the 58th Army (HQ in Vladikavkaz) held an anti-UAV sniper exercise.

*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.