Skip to main content

Russian asymmetry, nukes and missiles for diplomatic measures



Until this weeks kaleidoscopic scramble across Russia’s the western frontier, the Russian armed forces have been following a largely routine schedule since the rolling readiness checks of the October 2017 and the massive Zapad17 exercise.

The recent flurry of activity started with the snap drills of the reconnaissance, artillery and combat engineering units, that are commonly associated with the spearhead formations of the Russian army. Alone these drills are not very remarkable and even when grouped like this, they shouldn’t cause a major alarm with the Western defense planners.

When the entire Strategic Rocket Force (RVSN), ie. the Russia’s ground based ICBM force was alerted and the mobile TEL:s rolled into the vast forests things started to look slightly suspicious. Especially when the readiness check of the nuclear forces coincided with the expulsion of the Russian diplomats by UK, EU and USA.



Simultaneously with the RVSN, the majority of the Russian air defense and anti-ship missile units along the western border from the Arctic to the Black Sea were alerted and sent out to missile drills.

The real surprises came on 29.3.2018, when Russia announced that it would conduct naval missile exercises in the western Baltic Sea. The target areas are closer to the Swedish territorial waters than ever before. There is also a secondary target area close to the Polish waters. Second Naval missile drill by a task force led by the Slava-class cruiser Marshall Ustinov is underway in the Barents sea north of Norway. This is a classic move in any Russian operation that is aimed against NATO or Sweden.

This provocative act is backed with a major annual air force exercise Ladoga 18, that is for the first time conducted with strike packages taking off without pre-designated targets. The pilots will only receive the targets for the live missiles while airborne. This kind of a drill could easily be used as a cover for a strategic strike against a nearby country. There is also an amphibious drill of the Baltic Fleet marines going on in the Kaliningrad as well as some peculiar VDV airborne drills.

Without the activation of the heavy hitters of the Russian ground forces, such as the 1st guards tank army, this isn’t going to be another invasion. Instead it is a very asymmetric response to the western diplomatic actions that were directed against Russia after the chemical weapons attack against the UK.

Russia is signaling loudly that it will not play with the same rules as the western nations. It isn’t even playing the same game.


Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Quick guide to identifying the Russian tanks Part 1: Updated Dec. 2021

  As most of the western nations have reduced their inventories to a few or mostly one type of main battle tank model in their active inventories, the myriad of tank platforms and distinct versions employed by the Russian armed forces may feel overwhelming. Here is a quick guide to identifying Russian MBTs. When you come across an image (or the actual thing), follow the steps to identify it properly. Updated 15.12.2021: T-90 modifications Family of the tank Russian Armed Forces currently operates, or at least storage, the following tank platforms/families: -            T-55 (<2000 in storage) -            T-62 (2000 in storage) -            T-64 (2000 in storage) -            T-72 (2000 active duty, 8000 in storage) -            T-80 (2000 active duty, 5000 in storage) -            T-90 (350 active duty, 600  in storage) -            T-14 (20 in field testing) So how can you identify what type of a tank are you looking at? There are two features that can be used to distinguishing th

Russian Tanks 2022: Thicker and Blinder

  Since the all out invasion of Ukraine the Russian army has lost at least 1700 tanks. This has caused the Russian army some supply problems, when they are re-forming their mauled units. Fighting has also revealed the need for upgrades on most of the Russian tank designs. The most obvious issues with the existing Russian tank fleet are the insufficient armor protection, the lack of reverse mobility and the vulnerability of the automatic loaders and their ammunition carousels. Although the last one has gifted us the sport of Turret Throwing. T-72B obr 2022 tanks Very little can be done for the mobility with the limitations of the existing transmissions and the autoloaders can’t really be replaced with better designs or human loaders either. The armor part on the other hand can be improved during the activation and refurbishment of the deep stored Soviet-era tanks. The first new design that appeared in the battlefield was an upgraded T-72B3 with additional armo,r mimicking the T-90M layo

Russian Spring offensive 2023: Kyiv Take Two

Russian T-80U tanks stuck and abandoned in Ukraine in spring 2022   The spectacular Ukrainian victories during the 2022 forced the Russian army to the defensive. With the Russian retreat from Kharkiv and the areas north of the river Dnipro in Kherson, the focus of the fighting has returned to the Donbass. The Russian forces, with Wagner mercenaries and penal battalions doing the bulk of the fighting and dying, are trying to take Bakhmut in a battle that invokes parallels to the meat grinders of the Great war. The Ukrainian armed forces on the other hand are slowly making progress towards Kreminna. Despite the continuous rumors about a new massive round of mobilizations, the Russian army cannot sustain the present level of attrition indefinitely. By throwing enough men and material against the prepared Ukrainian positions manned by experienced and highly motivated defenders, Russians may be able to gain some localized breakthroughs. But even if the Russian mechanized forces are able to