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The Russian Military Digest 02/20

This is the second Newsletter. Enjoy reading and subscribe to receive the next one, since I won’t be publishing them here.

The Russian Military Digest 2/20

06 August 2020

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Dear Reader,

This is a personal project, the result of wanting to share with you the most relevant Russian military news I read on a daily basis. With few exceptions, they are in Russian and the excerpts are my own quick (poor) translation without great care for literary perfection. I don’t alter the content or the rhetoric either. This means you will read what the Russian audience reads, including their version of the facts.

If you find this is Newsletter useful, please spread the word. Feel free to forward it to people who might think it interesting. To subscribe please go to https://www.berzins.eu/newsletter/.

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India Invites Russia to Build a New Geopolitical Reality

Vzglad, 03 August 2020 – https://vz.ru/world/2020/7/30/1052481.html

Russia was invited to participate in a very suspicious (at least at first) integration process by one of its most important partners – India. The most dangerous thing that can be discussed in this case is the creation of an anti-Chinese coalition, in which Moscow categorically does not want to participate. The concept of deterrence of China and its strategic environment requires the participation of all major regional players, primarily India. A nuclear power bordering China and controlling the sea lanes between Europe and the Middle East on the one hand and East Asia on the other. Washington is interested in New Delhi joining the American anti-Chinese bloc, especially given China’s increasingly aggressive behavior and the clashes between Indian and Chinese troops in the Himalaya. India is quite worried about China. According to some Indian experts, Beijing sees India as a sort of puppet state supported by Japan, the United States and several other countries trying to prevent China’s rise. In any case, India does not believe that the USA would be willing to send troops to help against a Chinese (or Chinese-Pakistani) attack. Also, there’s a problem with American conditionality. India will have to stop purchasing Russian weapons and cooperation with Iran. Thus, India will continue to stand on its concept and do not subscribe to American vision. To counterbalance American influence, the inclusion of Russia following India’s vision could allay the suspicions of the Chinese that the Indians under the guise of cooperation and partnership assemble an anti-China bloc. In the end, it might be beneficial for Russia because of the Russian-Indian “Maritime silk road” (transportation corridor from Vladivostok to Chennai), which might end with the triangle Russia – India – China becoming a reality.

Not only Tanks Rumbled

Krasnaya zvezda, 03 August 2020 –http://redstar.ru/ne-tolko-tanki-grohotali/

One thousand five hundred servicemen and about 500 units of military equipment were involved in the regimental tactical exercise at the Mulino training facility. The command post detected the enemy. Its number of significantly exceeds our forces. The command decides to deploy the motorized rifle regiment as a mobile defense. The main task is to keep the “enemy” on three lines of defense and inflict maximum damage on its forces. The “enemy” forces (up to a motorized rifle battalion) bypass positions on the right flank. Another company is moving in the direction of the Mulino village. At an altitude of 200 m, the radar reconnaissance forces discovered two targets [helicopters]. The regiment commander, Colonel Yevgeny Murashev, gives the order to attack. The crew of the multiple launch rocket system (MLRS) “Grad” enters into action, and brings down the helicopters. The regiment’s reconnaissance, using a drone, “spotted” a convoy of military vehicles in the forest area and up to a battalion of “enemy” manpower. T-72B3 tanks enter the battle. Today’s modernized combat vehicles have an improved Sosna-U sighting system allowing the gunner to detect a target not only during the day but also at night using a second-generation thermal imaging camera. The tanks are also equipped with weather sensors, which automatically make adjustments to the tank’s operation, depending on weather conditions. With the strike, the “enemy” retreats. When the “enemy” is entrenched in the front line, an order is given from the command post to attack it with the Kornet anti-tank guided missiles (ATGM). The 2nd motorized rifle battalion took the main blow of the “enemy”. It managed to keep the “enemy” on the first line as long as possible. After assessing the situation, the command decided to regroup our forces on the third line of defense. As Colonel Avdeev later explained, retreating to reserve positions, the regiment counterattacked the “enemy”. However, it is too early to think about it, the “enemy” is strong and utterly confident in his victory. Military chemists are involved. The Radiation, Chemical, and Biological Protection unit literally swaddles the area along the forest with haze, masking our forces’ withdrawal. The “enemy” has to postpone a further offensive, which is what the valiant motorized riflemen of the Vislenskaya division are trying to achieve. As it turned out later, the meaning of a maneuverable defense was to gain as much time as possible by holding the “enemy” and regrouping the regiment’s forces to counterattack. The regiment’s personnel were ordered to counterattack the “enemy”, the leading edge of which was significantly battered by defensive fire. Now it’s up to the motorized riflemen, their offensive completes the complete defeat of the “enemy”. This exercise, which was observed by the commander of the Red Banner Combined Arms Army of the Guards, Lieutenant General Andrei Ivanaev, became a kind of exam following the results of a three-month training of the personnel of the motorized rifle regiment, which arrived at the Mulino training ground from the Belgorod region.

Permanent Representative of the Russian Federation to the OSCE Lukashevich on the Causes of its Crisis

Kommersant, 03 August 2020 –https://www.kommersant.ru/doc/4441230

The main points of the interview:

– The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and the European security system as a whole are going through extremely difficult times, while Russia has always remained committed to the OSCE and is confident in the organization’s potential, said Alexander Lukashevich, Russia’s Permanent Representative to the OSCE.

– At first, the United States was simply skeptical about attempts to create a common European security structure. Then, it began to actively oppose this initiative since it could become a competitor to NATO.

– The United States sought to prevent competitors’ emergence for the security structures it supervises or is ideologically close to it, including the European Union. Because of it, all our attempts to reform the OSCE are blocked.

– We strive for Americans to understand that with the creation of the CSCE/OSCE the pan-European process has taken on a large-scale character. The Astana Declaration of 2010 emphasized the importance of the task of forming a security community that will be based on cooperation and will encompass Europe, the Euro-Atlantic, and Eurasia. Again, no one is working on this idea, because it would undermine the basis of decision-making in other Euro-Atlantic structures. There is a geostrategic competition.

– There is no question of Russia’s withdrawal from the organization since Russia has always remained very clearly committed to the OSCE – with all the nuances and flaws of this organization.

– We see all of its (OSCE -IF) shortcomings. At the same time, we are convinced that the potential of this organization is far from being exhausted. Moreover, slamming the door is not our method. And the OSCE is a unique platform for dialogue and cooperation. It can and should be strengthened, but this requires political will.

Changing wheels: New Armored Vehicles will Change the Face of the Airborne Forces

Izvestia, 03 August 2020 –https://vz.ru/news/2020/7/27/1051950.html

The first troops to receive the newest Typhoon- Airborne armored vehicles will be reconnaissance units and special-purpose units of the Airborne Forces. The vehicles that began arriving to the paratroopers this year are well protected from bullets and shrapnel and are armed with rapid-fire automatic cannons. In the future, airmobile units may be equipped with them. According to experts, this technique will radically increase the mobility and security of the paratroopers. The new wheeled vehicles may be useful both in airborne assault and airmobile units. Their main application is landing without the use of parachutes. Aircrafts land with equipment and personnel at airfields near the combat zone or in occupied territories behind enemy lines. From there, the paratroopers can move into the designated area in well-armed and armored wheeled vehicles with a large range.

The Naval Exercises “Ocean Shield-2020” Began in the Baltic

Izvestia, 03 August 2020 –https://iz.ru/1043335/2020-08-03/krupnye-ucheniia-vmf-okeanskii-shchit-2020-nachalis-na-baltike

The Russian Navy “Ocean Shield-2020” exercises began in the Baltic Sea with more than 30 warships and units of the Coastal Forces, Air Defense and Marine Corps, and Naval Aviation under the leadership of the Commander-in-Chief of the Russian Navy, Admiral Nikolai Evmenov. During the first stage, the ships will perform mine-action missions, artillery firing, and practical launches of shock and anti-aircraft missiles. According to the Rusian MoD, the objective is to repel the enemy’s airstrikes, defeat its naval forces, search for and destroy submarines, and perform tactical landing assaults.

Russia Reacted to the US Decision to the Number of Soldiers in Poland

Vzglad, 03 August 2020 –https://vz.ru/news/2020/8/3/1053194.html

The US decision to increase the number of American soldiers in Poland has political objectives and forces Russia to strengthen its capabilities in this region, said Yuri Shvytkin, Deputy Chairman of the State Duma Defense Committee. “1,000 troops is approximately the size of the regiment. The larger the number of NATO [military personnel] in Europe, the less security in the region. At the same time, according to the former head of the international treaty department of the Russian Ministry of Defense, Lieutenant General Yevgeny Buzhinsky, Washington’s decision does not pose significant threats to Russia, so this step should not be exaggerated. “Trump is trying to minimize costs. The maintenance of servicemen abroad is not cheap. Although Poland offered to support them at its own expense, I think they will not be for a long time, since the Polish “at its own expense” is at the expense of the EU and at the expense of Germany, first of all.”

“Yars” with a Belarusian Accent

VPK, 04 August 2020 –https://vpk-news.ru/articles/58061

The Strategic Missile Forces of Russia are dependent on Lukashenka’s tractors. When projecting nuclear weapons, designers are required to consider 100% of domestic components and materials. However, in the case of mobile ground missile systems, it became a problem. The wheeled chassis of the Yars ICBM launcher is produced at the Minsk Wheeled Tractor Plant (MZKT). Other systems using Belarussian platforms include the systems Smerch, Iskander-M, Buk-2M, S-400, and coastal missile systems “Bal” and “Bastion.”

A Russian MiG-31 Intercepted a Norwegian Aircraft over the Barents Sea

Izvestia, 04 August 2020 –https://iz.ru/1043943/2020-08-04/rossiiskii-mig-31-perekhvatil-samolet-norvegii-nad-barentcevym-morem

The Russian airspace control devices over the Barents Sea’s neutral waters detected an air target approaching the state border of the Russian Federation. A MiG-31 fighter from the Northern Fleet’s air defense forces intercepted the target and identified a Norwegian Air Force Falcon 20 electronic reconnaissance and electronic warfare aircraft. After the aircraft turned around the border, the Russian fighter returned to its base.

“Small war” on a global scale

VPK, 04 August 2020 –https://vpk-news.ru/articles/58050

“Little war” and covert operations will definitely become the mainstream in conditions when the correct “hot” fight between the planetary poles of power has become suicidal. When the nuclear missile deadlock is obvious. And if the country does not engage in this direction of military affairs, then all its strategic submarine cruisers, hypersonic prowling warheads, and cruise missiles, multiply charged ballistic “Sarmat” and transoceanic torpedoes “Poseidon” will turn out to be expensive but useless toys that can never be used, but they will drain the country’s economy with huge unproductive costs.

Artillerymen of the Central Military District in the Urals have worked out non-standard methods of warfare

Apiural, 05 August 2020 –http://www.apiural.ru/news/society/151062/

The servicemen of the self-propelled artillery regiment of the Guards Tank Division of the Central Military District (TsVO) have worked out non-standard methods of warfare during an, which ended today at the Chelyabinsk Region. During the exercise, the crews of the Grad multiple launch rocket systems and the Akatsiya self-propelled artillery trained the procedures for protecting a military echelon on the move and during unloading at a railway station from a hypothetical enemy’s reconnaissance and strike groups. Then the artillery crews, having occupied the area of ​​combat destination, proceeded to fire engagement of single and group targets of the enemy, while repelling the attacks of the enemy reconnaissance and sabotage groups. At the same time, the regiment fought a contact battle with the enemy’s reconnaissance and sabotage groups. The exercise’s primary objectives were to maintain a high density of fire on the enemy in the presence and absence of fire contact with its sabotage groups. In total, about 600 servicemen from artillery and reconnaissance units, as well as support services and over 150 units of military equipment were involved in the exercise. The innovation of the exercises’ design consists of allowing the enemy’s DRG to penetrate the immediate rear of our troops, which is very likely to occur in modern military operations.

Ukraine in NATO? Will Ukraine Become a Platform for the Invasion of Russia?

Ria Novosti,05 August 2020 –https://ria.ru/20200805/1575346111.html

The gradual abandonment of Kalashnikov assault rifles, participation in joint exercises, exchange of intelligence information – Ukrainian politicians and generals are very confident with the status of “NATO’s Enhanced Opportunities Partner” (EOP). In their opinion, this is very close to joining the Alliance. The Russian Foreign Ministry believes that Kyiv has become a NATO EOP exclusively for political reasons. “Whatever NATO may say about this decision, the political background is obvious – in conditions when Kyiv openly sabotages the implementation of the Minsk agreements, which the alliance itself has spoken out many times. Kyiv continues to wage war in Donbas. It cannot be assessed otherwise than purposeful encouragement of this destructive course conducted by the Ukrainian authorities,” – according to Maria Zakharova, the speaker of the Russian MFA. At the same time, Moscow is constantly paying attention to the systematic US buildup of military aid to Kyiv. In particular, the draft US defense budget for 2021 provides tens of millions of dollars for arms supplies to Ukraine. By such actions, Washington supports the “war party” in Kyiv. It encourages the course of the Ukrainian authorities to sabotage the Minsk agreements and the continuation of hostilities in the Donbas.

Shoigu: Equipment Modernization Should Reach 70%

Nezavisimaya Gazeta, 05 August 2020 –https://www.ng.ru/armies/2020-08-05/2_7929_news2.html

The equipment of troops with modern types of weapons by the end of 2020 should reach 70%, said Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu. “We must fulfill the state defense order by 100% and reach the 70% level while maintaining a high level of equipment serviceability,” the minister said on Wednesday. His deputy Alexei Krivoruchko, in turn, said that in the first half of 2020, the share of modern weapons in the army and in the navy was 68.5%. “The plans for the supply of aircraft were fulfilled by 44%, helicopters – by 59%, multi-purpose vehicles – by 30.”

A Large Bilateral Tactical Exercise with the Participation of More than 4,000 Military Personnel of the Air Defense Forces was Completed in the Amur Region

Minoborony, 06 August 2020 –https://function.mil.ru/news_page/country/more.htm?id=12305650@egNews

An extensive bilateral tactical exercise with two motorized rifle formations of the Eastern Military District was completed with a stage of live firing and a drawing of a maneuver battle. For ten days, military groups confronted each other at training grounds in the Amur Region. During the exercise, the formations worked out the subunits’ actions in defense and offensive. A distinctive feature of the exercise was the expanded use of automated control systems, unmanned aerial vehicles and anti-aircraft vehicles, and the improvement of the Azart’s control system. During the exercise, the tank subunits carried out lightning-fast counterattacks, deep raids deep into the enemy’s defenses and organizing tank ambushes using the KRUS Strelets and Tachyon UAVs. Special attention was paid to the development of new means of reconnaissance, electronic warfare, and communications. New tactical techniques and a set of camouflage measures were tried. More than 4,000 servicemen took part in the exercise, with 800 pieces of equipment, including modern T-80BV tanks, Msta-S and Akatsiya self-propelled artillery, modernized Grad multiple launch rocket systems and other modern equipment.