Identification of Military Units and the Armament of Artillery Elements of the Russian Invasion Forces

In the course of detection and identification of Russian units in the grouping of the invasion forces, we have acquired substantial evidence which reveals the composition of the Russian grouping concentrated along the border with, and in, Donbas, Ukraine. These Russian units make up the invasion forces by providing battalion or company tactical groups (BTG or CTG).

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The work on these units is work in progress and we periodically update the list of military units as more information is acquired and new units are brought in. However we are now able to provide information not only on “which units are fighting?” but also on “with what armaments are they fighting?”. We have collected substantial evidence on this matter. In this article we will present information on the artillery units.

Back in July we wrote that artillery elements located near the Ukrainian border in the Rostov region of the Russian Federation shelled Ukrainian territory from time to time. Since that time we have acquired new evidence.

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We identified the elements located in the immediate vicinity of the Ukrainian border that belong to the following military units (all those units are from the Southern Military District):

  • Elements of the 291st Artillery Brigade from Troitskaya (Republic of Ingushetia). Equipped with 2A65 “Msta-B” towed 152 mm howitzers, 220 mm self-propelled multiple launch rocket systems (MLRS) BM-27 “Uragan”, and truck-mounted 122 mm multiple rocket launchers (MRL) BM-21 “Grad”. One of the elements of this artillery brigade, which was transferred to Crimea in the early spring, was used to form the 8th Separate Artillery Regiment (based in Simferopol and subordinated to the ground units of the Black Sea Fleet of the Russian Federation);
  • Elements of the 19th Motorized Brigade transferred from Sputnik village (near Vladikavkaz, South Ossetia). They are equipped with 2S19 “Msta-S” self-propelled 152 mm howitzers and 122 mm MLRS 9A53-G “Tornado” (upgraded variant of BM-21 «Grad»);
  • Elements of the 18th Guards Independent Motor-Rifle Brigade from Kalinovskaya (Chechnya). They are equipped with 2S3 “Akatsiya” 152.4 mm self-propelled artillery and 122 mm MLRS 9A53-G “Tornado”;
  • Elements of the 136th Motorized Brigade transferred from Buynaksk (Dagestan). Equipped with 2S3 “Akatsiya”;
  • Elements of 943rd Multiple Rocket Launcher Regiment from Krasnooktyabrskiy (Adyhea). Equipped with 220 mm MLRS BM-27 “Uragan”;
  • Elements of the 17th Guards Independent Motor-Rifle Brigade from Shali (Chechnya) or 8th Guards Independent (Mountain) Motor-Rifle Brigade from Borzoy (Chechnya). Equipped with 2S1 “Gvozdika” 122 mm self-propelled howitzers;
  • Elements of the 1st Guards Missile Brigade transferred from Krasnodar. They are equipped with 300 mm heavy MRL BM-30 “Smerch”, SS-21 “Scarab-B” tactical operational missile complexes, and 9K720 “Iskander-M” mobile theater ballistic missile systems.

With high probability we can speak of the elements (battalions or batteries) from:

  • 439th Guards MLRS Brigade from Znamensk, equipped with BM-30 “Smerch”;
  • 630th Training Missile Battalion from Znamensk (or according to other sources — from Vladikavkaz) equipped with 9K720 “Iskander-M”;
  • Artillery divisions of other military units of the Southern Military District.

In addition to the artillery of the Southern Military District, we previously identified the following artillery elements from the Western Military District:

  • 275th Artillery Regiment of the 4th Guards Tank Division (Naro-Fominsk)
  • 288th Artillery Unit from Mulino, Nizhny Novgorod region, equipped with 220 mm MLRS BM-27 “Uragan”

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See also:

By Irakli Komakhidze; edited by Larry Field