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Russia prepares airborne assault units for landing in Ukrainian rear - ISW

Russia prepares airborne assault units for landing in Ukrainian rear - ISW Photo: Russia is preparing amphibious assault brigades to land in the rear of the Armed Forces (Facebook/Russian Ministry of Defense)

Russian regular forces are forming airborne assault brigades that will act as specialized units for landing and reconnaissance behind Ukrainian defense lines, according to the Institute for the Study of War (ISW).

The report states that this is not a new concept for the Russian army, as similar units operated during the Soviet intervention in Afghanistan.

According to Russian sources, airborne assault brigades within ground forces will be able to conduct landings in the immediate rear of Ukraine without parachutes, possibly using helicopter landings for rapid deployment of personnel, as was the case during the initial battles for Hostomel Airport near Kyiv on February 24, 2022.

It is noted that such a unit is already operating in the Zaporizhzhia direction - the 49th Separate Airborne Assault Brigade as part of the 58th Combined Arms Army (Southern Military District).

The Airborne Assault Brigades exist in the modern Russian army as part of the Airborne Troops, so Russian ground formations may indeed be attempting to create these formations.

ISW has previously observed instances of forming reconnaissance-assault brigades within general-purpose formations and assessed that the creation of such specialized formations is intended to address specific tactical challenges faced by Russian forces in Ukraine.

"However, the deployment of airborne assault brigades separate from the broader structure of airborne troops likely signifies that these specialized brigades will be used as another means to conduct exhaustive frontal attacks led by infantry against Ukrainian fortified positions in the short term," the report states.

Unfair privileges

Additionally, the report notes that a well-known Russian military blogger has complained about the unjust treatment of units comprised of conscripted personnel, as opposed to regular Russian military contract servicemen. The servicemen in the Russian Storm-Z units do not fall under the jurisdiction of current Russian military legislation and, therefore, do not have the right to similar privileges as contract servicemen.

According to the blogger, Storm-Z fighters receive only compensation ranging from 50,000 to 300,000 rubles for injuries, compared to the 3 million rubles received by contract servicemen. He lamented that Storm-Z fighters do not receive any social benefits, as the Russian Ministry of Defense considers the only reward these servicemen deserve to be a presidential pardon for convicted conscripts.

"Recruits from prisons in various private military companies and volunteer battalions face a similar problem. The Russian Ministry of Defense is likely interested in recruiting from prisons to minimize the costs associated with providing social benefits to servicemen," the ISW report states.

Frontline situation

Ukrainian military forces have documented 626 instances of Russia using munitions loaded with poisonous chemical substances. Out of these, 51 cases were recorded just in January of this year.

Due to the activity of Ukrainian drones, Russia is shooting down its own UAVs on the left bank of the Dnipro River.

Meanwhile, on the left bank of the Kherson region, the intensity of Russian assaults is increasing once again. The enemy is deploying more well-prepared units to the area.