In this second part of our investigation, we analyze the primary methods used to assign mobilized soldiers to units within the Russian Armed Forces, and shed light on units that were established after the mobilization was declared.
- Direct assignment to a regular unit experiencing significant personnel shortages after six months of combat (approximately 90,000 individuals);
- Placement into newly established units composed of mobilized soldiers, directly formed at training centers where freshly mobilized soldiers were directed to after departing from military collection points (approximately 200,000 individuals);
- Assignment to units within training centers, from which mobilized soldiers would be later deployed to regular units facing shortages. This is the channel we have the least data on.
Regardless of whether a mobilized soldier was sent to a regular unit or a newly formed one composed of mobilized men, they could find themselves on the frontline in as little as two weeks after the start of the mobilization. From early October onward, records show that mobilized soldiers started actively participating in combat, primarily on the Svatove axis. At the same time, a significant portion of mobilized soldiers remained at their home bases and training centers, with their gradual deployment to the frontlines continuing until January 2023, when the majority of newly formed units either had seen combat or were deployed as reserves in areas near the front.
In total, according to our calculations, at least 123 different units were created as part of the mobilization, with the real number likely higher still. The majority of these units, 77, were nominally classified as motorized rifle regiments. We also found references for 18 separate motorized rifle battalions, five engineer-sapper regiments, five tank regiments, as well as seven artillery regiments and 11 artillery battalions. We have compiled all the information we could find about them in the following table.
The question of how new units are organized within the structure of the RuAF is somewhat complex. We have found a few mentions and gained access to several documents that shed light on this issue. However, overall, there is very limited information available on the subject. Perhaps the key distinction between units composed of mobilized soldiers and regular units lies in how they are used. Newly formed units are often transferred from one military district to another, placed under the command of various other formations, and can be further divided into subunits to be deployed piecemeal, or even disbanded.
Additionally, we have observed the emergence of new subunits within pre-existing regular units—separate reserve battalions. They were created during the winter of 2022 and, based on our findings, they are used for training volunteer fighters who signed contracts with the RuAF, as well as temporary assignments for servicemen recovering from injuries. They are subsequently sent from these subunits into active units, with each of the battalions assigned to a specific frontline unit. Furthermore, we have found that a separate regiment was established to train ex-convicts who signed contracts with the Ministry of Defense, known as the "Z Assault Detachments Training Regiment." It likely mirrors the function of the reserve battalions but for ex-convicts.
A "partial" mobilization announced by President Putin on Sept. 21, 2022 marked one of the major milestones of the war, significantly affecting its trajectory. Since the day the Russian mobilization—unprecedented since WWII—was ordered, CIT has been closely following the draft campaign, its dynamics and implications. Together with a team of volunteers, we assess the situation through monitoring coverage in more than 60 media outlets and on social media platforms. Based on this data, we release daily summaries covering the developments and incidents we consider to be the most important.
Our first report in this series of publications was presented in June and covered the initial steps in the mobilization process, mainly focusing on allocation of draftees across training centers. The present article, which is released one year after the launch of mobilization, will elaborate on its subsequent stage and explore the strategy and mechanics of how mobilized soldiers were distributed across units of the Russian Armed Forces. We will review the three main ways in which newly mobilized soldiers were integrated into the ranks of the Russian Army. Roughly, one third of mobilized personnel was designated to replenish pre-existing regular military units, while the remaining two thirds were used to build new units, which in turn could also be used to reinforce pre-existing units. We will also share our findings on where and how new units were formed, and how they were incorporated into the structure of the Ministry of Defense.
Our special thanks go to our volunteers for their continuous support in sourcing data for our daily mobilization summaries over the last year, as well as for reviewing and collating information for this string of publications.
The first and most obvious method of integrating mobilized soldiers into the RuAF was to assign them to pre-existing regular military units. In the interest of simplicity, this is the term we will use to refer to military units which existed before mobilization. Most of the Ground Forces, Airborne Forces and Naval Infantry units, if not all, had seen combat by the time mobilization was declared. Evidence of this comes from the unit affiliation of prisoners of war or soldiers killed in action, the type of military vehicles captured on video, the tactical markings painted on them, as well as statements made directly by those involved in the fighting. All regular military units suffered from attrition: from soldiers killed, wounded or missing in action to those who surrendered or refused to participate in the war (also known as refuseniks or five-hundredths). After mobilization was declared, the legislation was tightened to criminalize these refusals, adding desertion to the list of attrition factors. Attrition levels varied by axis and operation, in which a given military unit took part. For example, the 1st Tank Army (1st TA, the full names of all mentioned pre-existing regular units and formations of the RuAF, as well as their abbreviations, are given at the end of the article), which was seen as one of the most combat-ready units of the RuAF until 2022, suffered a significant defeat during the first phase of the current invasion, while it attempted a breakthrough on the Sumy-Kyiv axis. As a result of this operation, it lost 131 tanks and 409 soldiers in the first 19 days, according to documents captured by the AFU from the army’s headquarters.
The second blow to the 1st TA came during the Kharkiv counteroffensive, conducted by the AFU at the beginning of the fall 2022. Personnel losses of the RuAF this time were in general more limited than in the spring of 2022. The Mediazona independent Russian media outlet, in collaboration with BBC News Russian, counted 2,600 Russian soldiers KIA between the start of the invasion and the retreat of the RuAF from northeastern Ukraine, compared to 1,900 KIA during the Kharkiv operation. Although these are only confirmed casualties and real numbers are likely far greater, the ratio should remain accurate. Also, a large number of the army’s vehicles and armaments were either destroyed or abandoned during the retreat, which at times resembled a rout. Rough estimates put RuAF losses at 102 tanks, 108 infantry fighting vehicles, 86 armored personnel carriers and 66 artillery pieces. As a result, units of the 1st TA were withdrawn to the rear, sometimes even to Russia, to let them recover their combat readiness, similarly to other formations of the Western Military District, including the 20th Combined Arms Army, the 11th Army Corps and the 200th Motorized Rifle Brigade. Beyond the territorial and military losses, the main consequence of this defeat was the declaration of a "partial" mobilization in Russia.
As can be concluded from the casualty estimates below, the case of the 1st TA is not unique: units across all military districts incurred significant losses in the first few months of the invasion. Units of the Central Military District took part in the capture of the cities of Sievierodonetsk and Lysychansk, those of the Eastern Military District attempted to push towards Kyiv from the north, while those of the Southern Military District stormed the city of Mariupol. The combat history of units of the WMD was briefly covered in our discussion of the 1st TA above. The degree of success of these operations varied greatly, but all of them saw heavy fighting and much bloodshed. Therefore, it is hard to find military units that did not incur significant losses during this period. Presumably, some examples could be the 19th Division and 42nd Division of the 58th Combined Arms Army of the SMD, which advanced on the Zaporizhzhia axis during the initial phase of the invasion. This part of the frontline quickly solidified with positional battles and low intensity fighting becoming the norm. If there were indeed other military units with few casualties before mobilization, it is not possible to identify them with any degree of certainty at this time.
Besides attrition, all pre-existing regular units were experiencing personnel shortages when mobilization was declared because, on the one hand, they were understaffed from the outset, and on the other, a limited but considerable number of servicemen, who did not wish to participate in the invasion for a variety of reasons, were terminating their contracts or failing to extend them. By Sept. 21, 2022, Mediazona, BBC News Russian and a team of volunteers could reliably confirm the deaths of at least 6,600 Russian soldiers. By the authors’ own admission, only half of all burials could be accounted for, putting the total estimate at 13,000 KIA before mobilization. We further estimate that RuAF irrecoverable losses at the time amounted to 20,000-25,000 people, considering the number of soldiers MIA, a majority of whom perished, and WIA, for those who cannot return to the front due to the seriousness of their injuries. It is also worth noting that, until mobilization was declared, servicemen could relatively freely refuse to take part in combat operations, terminate their contracts or simply choose not to extend them without facing any criminal charges. It is nearly impossible to establish how many of them left the RuAF or refused to take part during this time. An investigation by the Vyorstka media outlet identified at least 1,793 refuseniks by the middle of June 2022. Yet, this number only accounts for cases which had been mentioned in the media or uncovered during the investigation itself. We have to consider that the real number of refuseniks could be several times higher. We also need to take into account that, even before the invasion, a majority of military units of the Russian Army had a shortage of personnel. Our estimate stands at 20%, albeit with significant variations across military districts, formations and units. Thus, the most crude estimate points toward a shortage of 55,000 to 70,000 soldiers across all military units taking part in combat operations. Finally, once we consider the various attempts to increase the army headcount by creating new subunits (at the very least, several regiments were expanded with an extra rifle battalion), adding units to existing formations, like the 47th Tank Division or the 20th Motorized Rifle Division, or, in the case of the 3rd Army Corps, by creating a whole new formation, the aggregate demand for additional soldiers within pre-existing regular units could have been around 90,000.
By comparing this estimate with the 300,000 soldiers that were mobilized, we can deduce that a third of them were used to replenish pre-existing regular units of the Russian Army taking part in the war. Evidence of their presence is available for virtually every formation of the RuAF in the combat zone, primarily in the form of obituaries, social media posts from volunteers who collect and send aid to Russian soldiers, and messages from relatives who try to ascertain the fate of their loved ones.
We noted in the first article in this series that the mobilization process during the initial phase followed the organizational structure of military districts. Mobilized soldiers from the CMD, for example, could only end up in training centers belonging to that district. This trend continued when pre-existing regular units were replenished with mobilized soldiers. Consequently, people mobilized in the Far East and in Siberia were eventually assigned to the units of the EMD and CMD, respectively. This approach is quite understandable from a logistical standpoint. In many cases, mobilized soldiers would undergo training at the home base of the professional military unit to which they would be assigned, facilitating the process of incorporating these recruits. Even when training took place elsewhere, it was still much more convenient to replenish a military unit with soldiers mobilized from the same or neighboring regions, rather than sending recruits halfway across the country. It is worth noting here that most of the administrative workflow of a military unit is performed by employees, including civilians, who remain on its home base, even when most of the unit’s personnel is deployed to the combat zone. Notably, it is at the home base where staffing and recruitment take place.
Let us now delve into the details of the distribution of mobilized soldiers among military units. Residents of the Primorsky region, within the jurisdiction of the EMD, joined units of the 5th Combined Arms Army: the 60th Motorized Rifle Brigade, as well as the 143rd and 394th Motorized Rifle Regiments. Soldiers mobilized from the Sakhalin region joined the 39th Motorized Rifle Brigade based in Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk. People from the Zabaykalsky region ended up in the 36th Motorized Rifle Brigade and the 200th Artillery Brigade. Those from the Khabarovsk region were recruited into the 57th Motorized Rifle Brigade. Units of the 36th Combined Arms Army, based in Russia's constituent republic of Buryatia, including the 5th Tank Rifle Brigade and the 37th Motorized Rifle Brigade, were replenished primarily with local residents.
In the CMD, we will now examine the 90th Tank Division based in Chebarkul, Chelyabinsk region. It includes the 6th, 80th and 239th Tank Regiments, as well as the 228th Motorized Rifle Regiment and the 400th Self-Propelled Artillery Regiment. Residents from at least seven regions, including the Chelyabinsk region itself, as well as the Irkutsk, Sverdlovsk, Penza, Novosibirsk, Tyumen regions and the Russian constituent Republic of Altai, were mobilized to fill its ranks. Some of them underwent initial training in Novosibirsk, at the Novosibirsk Higher Military Command School and the nearby Koltsovo and Shilovsky training grounds, before being deployed to Chebarkul. The 55th Motorized Rifle Brigade, which is a part of the 41st Combined Arms Army andbased in the city of Kyzyl, capital of Russia's constituent Republic of Tuva, was reinforced by residents of the region as well as mobilized soldiers from the Altai Republic, and the Chelyabinsk, Sverdlovsk and Tomsk regions. It is notable that mobilized soldiers from the latter two regions initially received training at the Yelansky Garrison near Yekaterinburg.
Turning to the WMD, it is worth noting the previously mentioned 1st TA. Since most of its units are primarily stationed in the Moscow region, residents from Moscow and the Moscow region became its main source of replenishment. In addition to them, we observed the presence of mobilized men from other central regions: the Kaluga, Yaroslavl, Tula, Vologda and Vladimir regions. They were directed to units within the 2nd Motorized Rifle Division, 4th Tank Division, the aforementioned 47th TD, and the 27th Motorized Rifle Brigade. To replenish units of the 6th Combined Arms Army based in Saint Petersburg and the Leningrad region, especially the 25th and 138th Motorized Rifle Brigades, residents from the northern European regions of Russia, including the Russian constituent Republics of Komi and Karelia, the Leningrad, Vologda and possibly the Arkhangelsk, Murmansk and Novgorod regions, were dispatched. Units of the 20th CAA, primarily based in regions bordering Ukraine, were reinforced by residents of central Russia. For example, within the 3rd Motorized Rifle Division, we recorded the presence of mobilized soldiers from the Voronezh, Kursk, Yaroslavl, Kaluga, Belgorod and Lipetsk regions, while the 144th Motorized Rifle Division included individuals from the Bryansk, Lipetsk, Moscow, Yaroslavl and Oryol regions.
A different situation was observed with the 11th Army Corps, based in the Kaliningrad region. Its constituent units, especially the 7th and 9th Motorized Rifle Regiments, were replenished from several sources. Firstly, they were supplemented by mobilized soldiers from the Kaliningrad region itself. However, in addition to them, individuals from the Nizhny Novgorod, Moscow, Vologda and Tula regions who had received training at the training center in the village of Mulino, Nizhny Novgorod region,were directed to these regiments. Unlike in the cases described earlier, mobilized soldiers were not sent from the training centers to the home bases of the units, but were immediately transferred to the combat zone. This was likely due to the level of losses suffered by these units during their route from the Kharkiv region and immediate redeployment for combat in the Svatove direction in the fall. The mobilized soldiers from the 9th MRR were among the first whose capture was documented.
The SMD comprises three Combined Arms Armies: 8th CAA, 49th CAA and 58th CAA. Mobilized men from the Krasnodar and Stavropol regions ended up in the 49th CAA, while units of the 8th CAA, particularly the 20th Motorized Rifle Division and the 150th Motorized Rifle Division, were reinforced by residents of the Krasnodar, Rostov, Volgograd and Astrakhan regions—these regions being where the aforementioned units are stationed. Residents from these same regions, as well as mobilized soldiers from Russia’s constituent Republics of Dagestan and North Ossetia–Alania joined the ranks of the 58th CAA, primarily its 42nd Motorized Rifle Division. Since it is stationed in Russia's constituent Republic of Chechnya, where mobilization, as mentioned in our previous installment, did not take place, other regions within the SMD became the source of its replenishment. Additionally, both residents of North Ossetia–Alania and neighboring regions were directed to the 19th Motorized Rifle Division located in North Ossetia.
Particular attention should be given to the Russian Airborne Troops and Naval Infantry. These elite branches of the Armed Forces have been actively used since the early days of the war, either as assault infantry (e.g., in the capture of Mariupol and Pavlivka) or as motorized rifle units (e.g., in the defense of the right-bank Kherson region). As a result, paratroopers and naval infantry units had suffered significant losses by September, confirmed by data on documented casualties compiled by Mediazona in collaboration with BBC News Russian and volunteers. Therefore, it is not surprising that mobilized soldiers were actively directed to units belonging to these branches.
For example, residents of Kamchatka joined the ranks of the 40th Naval Infantry Brigade stationed in the region, while mobilized soldiers from the Primorsky and Magadan regions, Chukotka autonomous region and Russia’s constituent Sakha Republic (Yakutia) joined the 155th Naval Infantry Brigade located in Vladivostok. The 61st Naval Infantry Brigade stationed in the Murmansk region was supplemented by residents from the region and the Komi Republic, and the 810th Naval Infantry Brigade stationed in Sevastopol included residents from occupied Crimea.
There is ample evidence showing the usage of mobilized soldiers from various regions to reinforce almost all airborne units. For example, the 11th Air Assault Brigade located in Buryatia was reinforced by residents of Yakutia and Buryatia. The 83rd Air Assault Brigade in Ussuriysk was replenished by mobilized men from Yakutia and the Primorsky region. Similar scenarios played out in units of the 106th Airborne Division: the 51st Parachute Regiment in Tula was supplemented with residents of the Tula region, and the 137th Parachute Regiment in Ryazan had residents of the Ryazan region join its ranks. The reinforcement with mobilized soldiers from various regions was even more diverse in the case of other airborne units. For instance, the 31st Air Assault Brigade based in Ulyanovsk saw recruits from both the Ulyanovsk region and the Omsk region. The 7th Air Assault Division, based in southern Russia, i.e. in the Krasnodar and Stavropol regions, as well as in occupied Crimea, received mobilized soldiers from both the southern regions, such as the Krasnodar, Stavropol or Rostov regions, and from the Kemerovo region, Western Siberia. A similar situation is observed in the 98th Airborne Division based in the Kostroma and Ivanovo regions, with draftees coming from nearby regions such as the Ivanovo, Kostroma, Leningrad and Lipetsk regions, as well as the Omsk region. This trend becomes even more apparent in the case of the 76th Air Assault Division based in the Pskov region. Its ranks were filled with mobilized soldiers from both Northern European Russia (Karelia, Saint Petersburg, and the Pskov and Leningrad regions), and Siberian regions (the Krasnoyarsk, Omsk and Kemerovo regions). In summary, when it comes to the reinforcement of airborne units with mobilized soldiers, there are two distinct patterns. The first pattern relies on mobilized soldiers from the "home" and neighboring regions. The second pattern involves mobilized soldiers from three Siberian regions: the Krasnoyarsk, Omsk, and Kemerovo regions. This can be explained by the information presented earlier in our research, where we highlighted that residents of these three regions were sent to the 242nd Training Center of the Airborne Forces in the village of Svetly near Omsk. Therefore, those mobilized soldiers who went through the 242nd Training Center were subsequently directed to airborne units. Notably, there apparently weren’t any specialized selection criteria (such as prior service as paratroopers) when replenishing units of the Airborne Forces. The distribution into these "elite" units, as well as into "elite" Naval Infantry units, has been based on geographical principles, just like in other RuAF units. However, information regarding the lack of any specific professional selection procedure during the allocation of mobilized soldiers is not at all concealed. Individuals who completed their statutory military service as electricians and motorized riflemen have become paratroopers, sailors and naval infantrymen have become artillerymen, bandmasters have become snipers, and military police and special forces personnel have become tank crew members.
While not fully comprehensive, the picture we present of how mobilized soldiers from different regions were assigned to military units is sufficient to understand the basic principles behind the process: in the manner most obvious and easy to implement, the distribution proceeded according to geography and did not take into account pre-existing military skills acquired during past military service, if any.
Rationally, upon completing basic training at a training center (which did not always happen) and unit assignment, a draftee would need to undergo additional training that would include joint combat exercises at platoon, company and battalion level. The lack of professional selection that we pointed out above makes such training even more crucial. However, the situation unfolding at the front forced commanders to ignore this logic. The ongoing AFU offensive could lead to the liberation of even more territories, and given the difficulties it experienced on the Svatove-Kreminna axis, the RuAF had no choice but to dispatch mobilized men to that area literally days after they had been drafted.
The most representative example here is the 1st TA, part of the WMD that is the core of the Group of Troops "West" in this war. Since the occupied areas in the Kharkiv region and the northern part of the Luhansk region, where most of the AFU offensive took place, are under the responsibility of the WMD, the task of stabilizing the frontline in that area fell to the WMD and, in particular, the 1st TA. Naturally, given the personnel shortage, mobilized soldiers became one of the means to deal with this task and it is no surprise that some of the early reports of mobilized soldiers participating in combat came from men drafted into the 1st TA. Mobilized soldiers from the 27th MRBr found themselves near Svatove on Oct 4-5. A few days later, on Oct. 9, mobilized men from the 15th Motorized Rifle Regiment of the 2nd Motorized Rifle Division ended up in that same area. Simultaneously, draftees from the 423rd Motorized Rifle Regiment of the 4th TD were deployed to nearby positions. Thus, a mere two weeks after the mobilization was announced, at least three units belonging to the 1st TA (2nd MRD, 4th TD and 27th MRB) reinforced with draftees were dispatched to the Svatove area on a mission to stabilize the situation there (some of the mobilized soldiers were killed 8-9 days after their conscription).
One should not assume that all draftees were deployed to the front right away. While some of the units replenished with freshly mobilized men were sent to the combat zone, others continued their training or simply remained at training centers. In particular, some draftees from the above-mentioned 2nd MRD of the 1st TA were taken to Belarus in early November to participate in military training and unit combat capacity restoration conducted by the RuAF on training grounds belonging to the Armed Forces of Belarus. We already covered this training in detail in the first part of our investigation.
The 1st TA was by far not the only WMD unit to dispatch its mobilized soldiers to the front immediately after being replenished with them. Another example is the 20th CAA, whose newly mobilized soldiers were also deployed to the same area of occupied Ukrainian territory shortly after being drafted and without proper training. This happened to draftees from the 252nd Motorized Rifle Regiment (sent to Svatove-Makiivka on Oct. 7), the752nd Motorized Rifle Regiment (sent to Svatove-Makiivka in early October), the 254th Motorized Rifle Regiment (sent to Lyman on Oct. 7) and 488th Motorized Rifle Regiment (sent to Torske on Oct. 1).
In addition to WMD troops, CMD forces were also involved in stabilizing the frontline in the Svatove-Kreminna area and some of the mobilized residents of the regions comprising the CMD were transferred there in early October. Thus, draftees from the Sverdlovsk and Tomsk regions assigned to the 55 MRBr found themselves on the frontline in the Svatove-Lyman area on Oct. 6-8. The combat deaths of mobilized soldiers from the Sverdlovsk region were among the first to become publicly known.
Before long, draftees were being sent into offensive actions in addition to serving in defensive capacities. As early as in the last days of October, for example, mobilized men from the 155 NIBr and 40 NIBr were dispatched to storm Pavlivka and Vuhledar, where they suffered heavy casualties. The use of mobilized soldiers in assaults became ever more widespread as time went on. We will further examine the use of mobilized soldiers in combat in the next installment of this series.
According to our aforementioned estimates, around 90,000 mobilized men were deployed to replenish regular RuAF units. Given the 300,000 total number of draftees, just over 200,000 men remained to be assigned. We postulate that the vast majority of these men went to new RuAF units formed specifically for this purpose. Using open sources, we were able to confirm the emergence of at least 123 new RuAF units,with the real number likely higher still. Since none of these sprang up before the fall of 2022, they must have been created in connection to the mobilization campaign. In order to distinguish them from regular military units, they are often referred to as territorial troops regiments (testimonies, court decision, media, a letter of appreciation and a shoulder patch). The majority of these new units are nominally motorized rifle regiments although the question remains of whether they have actually been outfitted with appropriate military vehicles. In total, we observed 77 such regiments. Besides motorized rifle regiments, 18 separate motorized rifle battalions were formed. We also saw mentions of 5 engineer-sapper regiments, 5 tank regiments (armed with tank variants ranging from ancient T-54/T-55/T-62—with repairs falling on the mobilized soldiers themselves—to the most modern T-90M), 7 artillery regiments and 11 artillery battalions (artillerymen received mostly 2A36 Giatsint-B towed 152mm field guns and D-20 or D-30 towed howitzers). By our estimates, the number of soldiers in these new units totals 190,000-200,000, which approximately matches the number of draftees not assigned to pre-existing regular army units.
Let us now focus on the principles underlying the formation of these new units. As in the case with replenishing regular army units, geography was the main factor in determining which training centers newly mobilized men were routed to from military collection points (see the first installment of this series). Since it was at those training centers where the new units were formed, staffing of the new regiments and battalions corresponded to the demographics present there. As a result, if a training center housed draftees from a single region (or from just a few), regiments formed there lacked regional diversity. For example, the 1443th, 1444th and 1445th Motorized Rifle Regiments were formed in the settlement of Roschinsky near Samara. Since only Samara region draftees were sent to Roschinsky, these regiments ended up "monoregional." Five motorized rifle regiments—1429th through 1433rd—were manned with Moscow and Moscow region residents trained at the Avangard training center (Patriot Park, near Kubinka) or with units belonging to the 1st TA. The 1153rd and 1154th regiments formed in the occupied Sevastopol were similar in that only Crimea residents were assigned to them. At the 1152nd Regiment formed in the village of Perevalne near Simferopol, however, mobilized soldiers from the Stavropol region were observed along with others from the Crimean peninsula. Formed in Russia’s constituent Republic of Tatarstan, the 430th Regiment as well as 1231st through 1234th were also "monoregional" and consisted exclusively of residents of the republic. A separate 428th Motorized Rifle Regiment was assembled exclusively from draftees from Russia’s constituent Republic of Bashkortostan even though they went through training in Kazan (Tatarstan). Similarly, commanders at the 623rd Training Center of the Signal Troops in Ulyanovsk assigned trainees from that region to a newly formed 1253rd Motorized Rifle Regiment while their fellow trainees from Russia’s constituent Republic of Chuvashia ended up at the 1251st MRR. These two cases, however, are exceptions rather than the rule. Usually, when a training center housed representatives of several regions, they all ended up in newly formed units together without being segregated by their region of origin. Thus, units formed in the CMD are characterized by significant regional diversity. The 504th Tank Regiment formed in Omsk on the basis of the Omsk Armored Engineering Institute includes representatives from several Russian regions: the Altai region, the Krasnoyarsk region, the Khanty-Mansi autonomous region–Yugra, Russia’s constituent Republic of Khakassia and the Omsk region. The 1307th Motorized Rifle Regiment, also formed there, has a similar regional representation, which includes mobilized soldiers from the Tomsk and Omsk regions, the Altai region, the Khanty-Mansi autonomous region and Khakassia. In the 1218th to 1220th Motorized Rifle Regiments formed in Penza (1218th MRR, 1219th MRR and 1220th MRR), the regional composition is also identical: Ulyanovsk and Penza regions, as well as Bashkortostan. The 1454th Motorized Rifle Regiment, formed at the 473rd District Training Center in the settlement of Yelansky in the Sverdlovsk region, includes residents of the Tomsk, Kurgan and Sverdlovsk regions, as well as the Khanty-Mansi autonomous region and the Perm region. The examples given above provide a general understanding of the connection between the location of a unit's formation and its regional composition. More detailed information is provided in the attached table. It lists all the new units we have recorded, where they were formed, regional compositions, and known commanders.
The principle described above should be considered when analyzing the regional distribution of casualties. Units did not participate in combat activities simultaneously, which means that losses occurred unevenly and during different periods. The most illustrative example is the Samara region. This region ranks among the highest in terms of the number of mobilized soldiers who were killed, according to a count of obituaries made by Mediazona and BBC News Russian. However, this does not necessarily mean that mobilization in the Samara region was more extensive than in other regions. More than half of the recorded losses in the Samara region are linked to a single incident—the attack on the vocational school in Makiivka, where one of the battalions of the 1444th MRR, consisting exclusively of residents from the region, was stationed. As a result, this single event had a significant impact on the distribution of casualties.
The fate of mobilized individuals who ended up in newly formed units generally mirrors the fate of mobilized individuals in regular units. Some of them were sent to the frontline, mainly in the Svatove direction, almost immediately. This primarily applies to units formed in the WMD. Specifically, among those were the 346th Motorized Rifle Regiment (Vladimir, Lipetsk and Oryol regions), 352nd Motorized Rifle Regiment (Moscow, Voronezh and Belgorod regions), 362nd Motorized Rifle Regiment (Voronezh, Lipetsk and Kursk regions), as well as the 1823rd Motorized Rifle Battalion (Moscow and Moscow region). However, the majority of new units remained in training centers and were gradually transferred first to Russia’s border regions and then to the combat area. As we already mentioned in the first part of our research, this process had been generally completed by January 2023.
The placement of these newly formed units within the Russian Ministry of Defense’s structure is worth considering separately. Although information on this matter is nearly absent from public sources, some observations can still be made. Since the distribution of mobilized men to training centers, the creation of new units, and the allocation of mobilized personnel to existing units occurred within military districts, it is logical to assume that units created according to this principle should have been under the command of their respective military districts. This assumption is supported by several publicly available documents. In particular, the verdict of the Vladimir Garrison Military Court indicates that the 344th Motorized Rifle Regiment, formed in the town of Kovrov, Vladimir region, belongs to the WMD. Moreover, based on information from an administrative case reviewed by the Novosibirsk Garrison Military Court, we can infer that the military unit 95376, matching the 1436th Motorized Rifle Regiment formed at the Novosibirsk Higher Military Command School, belongs to the CMD. The same district also includes the 1442nd Motorized Rifle Regiment, formed in Omsk at the Omsk Armored Engineering Institute. This is evident from the personnel order of the CMD commander, fragments of which have also been made public. This order mentions the Head of the Psychology Service of the 1442nd MRR, specifying the regiment’s affiliation with the CMD. As can be seen, in all cases, the units belong to the districts where they were formed.
However, this principle, apparently, was rigorously followed only during the stage of formation and training of new units. As they entered the combat zone, it became clear that it was violated. Such a conclusion can be drawn based on the directions and axes in which various units composed of mobilized soldiers were deployed. To understand this, we need to briefly highlight the principle by which military districts participate in the war. At the initial stage of the invasion, four groups of troops ("West," "East," "Center," and "South") corresponding to the four military districts were formed. After the Russian Army retreated from the northern regions of Ukraine in the spring of 2022 and the war transitioned into a positional phase, a relatively stable frontline emerged by late fall 2022, and has largely remained unchanged to this day. Along this frontline, directions were clearly assigned to the groups of troops, within which they used their own troops and equipment to carry out combat tasks. For instance, the northernmost section of the frontline, from the Russian-Ukrainian border to the Svatove area, referred to by the Russian MoD as the Kupiansk axis, falls under the responsibility of the Group of Troops "West." Further south, in the so-called Krasnyi Lyman [Lyman] axis, the Group of Troops "Center" operates, with its southern boundary being the area of the town of Bakhmut. This section of the front, after the retreat of the Wagner Group from the frontline, is likely in the area of responsibility of the Group of Troops "South," which includes the former so-called 1st and 2nd Army Corps of the People’s Militia of the "DPR" and "LPR." Its area of responsibility is the Donetsk axis, which generally corresponds to the Donetsk agglomeration.
Further, in the Vuhledar area, the frontline turns westward. Here, the South Donetsk axis begins, falling under the responsibility of the Group of Troops "East." It extends to the area of Robotyne-Verbove-Novofedorivka, west of which the area of responsibility of the Group of Troops "Dnieper" lies. This group of troops was formed mainly from units of the SMD and additional units from the Russian Airborne Troops. It is responsible for a small section of the Zaporizhzhia axis and the contact line along the Dnipro River, known as the Kherson axis. Therefore, at the present moment, there are five main groups of troops: "West," "Center," "South," "East" and "Dnieper."
It is worth noting that the units’ composition in each of the outlined sections of the frontline indicates that throughout the invasion, regular units fought as part of a Group of Troops corresponding to their respective military districts of origin. For example, 1st TA units were and are part of the Group of Troops "West", 5th CAA units—the Group of Troops "East", 90th TD units—the Group of Troops "Center", etc. The only known exception to this principle are the Russian Airborne Troops, which, even at the start of the invasion, operated separately from the Group of Troops of their respective military districts of origin. In the later stages of the war, paratroopers actively moved between different units and sections of the frontline as operational reinforcements, including Kherson, Svatove, Bakhmut and Zaporizhzhia. For example, at the initial stage of the invasion, the 76th AAD operated together with the Group of Troops "East", attempting to reach Kyiv from the north, and it were the soldiers of the 76th AAD who participated in war crimes against civilians in Bucha. After the withdrawal from the northern regions of Ukraine, the division was redeployed to the south, on the Kherson axis, and, together with the Group of Troops "South," attempted to stop the advance of the AFU there. After Russian forces left the right bank of the Dnipro River, the 76th AAD was redeployed to the area around the town of Kreminna and worked together with the units of the Group of Troops "West." Recently, there have been reports of the division being redeployed back to the south, on the Zaporizhzhia axis. Parts of the SMD that, apart from the Group of Troops "South," are also part of the Group of Troops "Dnieper," can also be considered an exception. In all other cases, as far as we know, this principle regarding regular units was observed quite strictly.
A completely different picture emerges regarding units composed of mobilized soldiers. In their case, the aforementioned principle where a unit’s district of origin corresponds to its Group of Troops has not always been followed. We have been able to determine that the areas where various units composed of mobilized soldiers were fighting did not correspond to the directions where regular troops from the same districts were operating. For example, the 136th Artillery Regiment, that is part of the Group of Troops "West," manned by residents of the Kostroma and Yaroslavl regions (WMD), ended up in the Zaporizhzhia region, where the Groups of Troops "South" and "East" operate. Similarly, the following regiments were also sent to the Zaphorizhzhia region: the 1196th, 1197th, 1199th, and 1251st Motorized Rifle Regiments, manned by residents from the CMD, as well as the 1429th and 1430th MRRs, where residents from Moscow and the Moscow region (WMD) serve. The following regiments were used on the Kherson axis, which similarly does not fall under the responsibility of the Groups of Troops "West" and "Center": the 359th Motorized Rifle Regiment (mobilized soldiers from the Smolensk and Bryansk regions), the 387th Motorized Rifle Regiment (residents from six regions of the WMD), the 1233rd Motorized Rifle Regiment (Tatarstan), the 1253rd MRR (Ulyanovsk region) and the 1445th MRR (Samara region). Thus, these units were transferred from their districts of origin to other military districts.
We have reached this conclusion not only based on the units’ location on the frontline but also thanks to several documentary pieces of evidence. One of them is the testimony of the Chief of Staff of the 1st AC, Colonel Yevgeny Zhuravlyov, given after the attack on the vocational school in Makiivka on the night of Dec. 31 to Jan. 1, 2023. In it, he says that the 1444th MRR, manned by mobilized soldiers from the Samara region, part of the CMD, together with four more mobilized motorized rifle regiments was put under the command of the 1st AC to strengthen the Donetsk axis. This decision was made by the commander of the 8th CAA which is part of the SMD. Thus, we see that the 1444th MRR, created as a part of the CMD, in winter 2023 found itself under the SMD’s jurisdiction and was transferred under the control of 8th CAA.
Another piece of documentary evidence supporting the fact that units composed of mobilized soldiers were transferred between military districts comes from the already mentioned 1442nd MRR. Above, we quoted an order from March 24, 2023, issued by the commander of the CMD, which mentioned this regiment. However, we also managed to find an order from April 12, 2023, issued by the commander of SMD, in which the 1442nd MRR is also mentioned, specifically its anti-tank battalion. According to this order, the regiment is part of the 6th Motorized Rifle Division of the 3rd Army Corps. This fact is also confirmed by the reported visit of the Deputy Governor of the Omsk region to the battalion’s headquarters. Based on this information, it can be asserted that at least one unit of the regiment was transferred from the CMD to the SMD. We also found court records dated May-June 2023, in which the CMD’s commander and the commander of the 1442nd MRR are mentioned as the defendant and a party of interest, respectively. Therefore, while at least part of the regiment ended up in a different military district, the regiment as a whole did not completely leave the CMD.
It is worth noting that the 6th MRD of the 3rd AC could not have been part of the SMD originally. It is well known that the 3rd AC had been formed even before the mobilization was announced, in the summer of 2022, and was primarily composed of volunteer fighters from the central and western regions of the country. The units created as part of 3rd AC underwent training in the villages of Mulino (6th MRD) and Totskoye (72nd Motorized Rifle Brigade) which are major hubs of the WMD and CMD, respectively. Thus, the 6th MRD is another example of the transfer of recently formed units from one military district to another. This constitutes an important distinction between units composed of mobilized soldiers and regular units in the Russian Army.
It can be assumed that one of the reasons for such a different approach is the General Staff's attempt to compensate for the difference between the mobilization potential of different military districts, the losses incurred by units within a given district and the challenges facing the districts. For example, the population residing in the EMD is significantly smaller than in other districts and is only 7.9 million compared to 57.2 million in the WMD, 54.5 million in the CMD and 26.7 million in the SMD. Consequently, the EMD can mobilize a significantly smaller number of reservists. This is also evident from the small number of newly created units in the Far East: we know of only 4 motorized rifle regiments formed in the EMD, while in the WMD, there were 31 such regiments and in the CMD there were 36. The SMD deviates slightly from this pattern: with a population roughly half that of the WMD or CMD, one would reasonably expect around 15 motorized rifle regiments to have been created there. However, in reality, there were only seven. It is difficult to say why this occurred. On the one hand, we could have identified a significantly lower percentage of units from this district (though we consider this to be unlikely), or, on the other hand, the majority of the mobilized soldiers from the southern regions could have been sent away to replenish the losses of regular units.
In any case, the units within the Groups of Troops "East" and "South" suffered losses on par with other Groups of Troops. These Groups of Troops held the defense lines on a crucial section of the front, which was initially considered, and then actually turned out to be, the direction of the summer offensive by the AFU. It is likely that these units composed of mobilized soldiers mentioned above were transferred there to strengthen the Groups of Troops in this potentially most dangerous direction. Thus, during the initial stages of mobilization, the General Staff created a reserve of new units, which were subsequently moved around to reinforce various Groups of Troops. It cannot be ruled out that some of these new units still remain in reserve.
The structural organization of units composed of mobilized soldiers has apparently proven to be quite flexible. Therefore, it is not surprising that at lower levels, such as divisions and brigades, the situation is even more complex. It appears that initially each new unit was assigned to an existing regular unit. For example, based on a memo we found that discusses correspondence with the relatives of mobilized soldiers from Bashkortostan, the 423rd MRR and the 91st Tank Regiment were attached to the 228th MRR of the 90th TD. The 1220th MRR and the 641st Howitzer Artillery Battalion were attached to the 385th Artillery Brigade of the 29th Combined Arms Army. The 1218th and 1219th MRRs were assigned to the 297th Anti-Aircraft Rocket Brigade, and the 640th Howitzer Artillery Battalion was attached to the 2nd Nuclear, Chemical and Biological Protection Regiment of the 2nd Combined Arms Army. All of the abovementioned regular units are part of the CMD, which further supports the assumption that these newly created units were initially attached to the military districts where they were formed before being transferred.
However, this classification was mainly formal due to the shortage of administrative staff in units composed of mobilized soldiers, leading to a partial delegation of their responsibilities to the administrative staff of regular military units. It is worth noting that regiments were attached to other regiments and brigades. A regiment can be part of a division under normal organizational structure, but not part of another regiment. This suggests that an attached unit most likely was not under the direct command of the "base" unit. We also note that units formed in one training center could be assigned to different regular military units. For example, the 1218th and 1219th MRRs that were formed at the Military Academy of Logistical Support in Penza were assigned to the 297th Anti-Aircraft Missile Brigade, while the 641st Howitzer Artillery Battalion that was created there too, was assigned to the 385th ARBr. Similarly, the 1197th MRR and the 640th Howitzer Artillery Battalion, formed in the 631st Training Center in Saratov, were assigned to the 92nd Rocket Brigade and the 2nd Nuclear, Chemical, and Biological Protection Regiment, respectively.
Since, as stated above, this classification was mainly formal, units composed of mobilized soldiers ended up being part of and subordinate to entirely different units and formations upon their arrival in the combat zone. For instance, the 1219th MRR, which was previously attached to the 297th AAMBr, was deployed on the Zaporizhzhia axis as part of the 49th CAA of the SMD. The 1220th MRR, which had previously been attached to the 385th ARBr, according to the regional press, may have ended up being part of the 52nd Artillery Brigade of the Russian Airborne Troops, itself a new formation created in early 2023. Additionally, both the aforementioned 1442nd MRR and 89th Tank Regiment were integrated into the 6th MRD. The 347th MRR found its place in the 47th TD, while the 359th MRR joined the 205th Motorized Rifle Brigade. For additional examples and comprehensive information on all units we found please refer to the table we have made. It is worth noting that, from an organizational standpoint, it is not unusual for a regiment to be part of a division. However, it deviates from standard military organization when regiments are placed under the command of brigades. It is difficult to say for certain how the chain of command was organized in these cases.
Another significant feature of using units composed of mobilized soldiers is that they tend to get "fragmented" into smaller units, which are subsequently parceled out to regular military units for reinforcement. We have already mentioned the artillery battalion of the 1442nd MRR, which is likely fighting detached from the rest of the regiment. Additionally, examples include the 1st Battalion of the 136th AR and the 6th Company of the 1429th MRR, both of which were attached to the 70th Motorized Rifle Regiment. However, one example is particularly telling. It involves the units sent to reinforce the 1st and 2nd Army Corps near Donetsk. During Russia's attempted winter-spring offensive of 2023, numerous videos emerged featuring mobilized soldiers complaining about former "People's Militia" commanders literally tearing apart the regiments they were in charge of. For instance, mobilized men assigned to the 1004th Regiment were distributed among the 1st, 5th and 9th Motorized Rifle Brigades, while those of the 1015th Regiment were integrated into the 1st, 123rd, and 132nd Motorized Rifle Brigades. As is evident, the trend towards the flexible use of units composed of mobilized soldiers can be observed from the highest level of military districts to individual companies and battalions.
An extreme case of this trend is the disbanding of units composed of mobilized soldiers. Specifically, the 1444th MRR experienced this after one of its battalions came under attack in Makiivka. Later, it was discovered that the regiment was disbanded and its members reassigned to various other regiments and brigades. Similarly, the 1443rd MRR, another regiment formed in Samara, was disbanded, and its personnel were sent to replenish the newly established 83rd, 85th and 88th Motorized Rifle Brigades. Moreover, we are aware of the disbandments of the 346th and 362nd MRRs, which were deployed near Svatove in the fall of 2022, where they suffered significant losses—according to 346th MRR soldiers, up to a half of the unit's personnel sent to the frontline. It is difficult to say for certain whether the regiment's poor military performance led to its disbandment. We should note that by the summer of 2023, the 362nd MRR had resurfaced, and was transformed into a reserve unit where volunteer fighters sign contracts before being deployed to the frontline. It is also noteworthy that the 345th Regiment has not been completely disbanded. Instead, it served as the foundation for a special unit in the town of Kovrov, dedicated to recovering wounded soldiers.
Summarizing some of the findings regarding the organization of units formed with mobilized soldiers, it is important to highlight the flexibility with which the command uses them on the frontline. In contrast to regular units, they are much more easily moved between military districts—the Groups of Troops—and placed under the command of various regular units. Units from these regiments are sent to reinforce other units and fight separately from the rest of their initial unit, personnel from these regiments can be used to replenish other units, while the regiments themselves may be disbanded. It is worth noting that, due to a lack of information, particularly official documents, conclusions about the organization of new regiments composed of mobilized soldiers in the RuAF structure need further clarification and may not be entirely accurate.
Reinforcing Pre-Existing Regular Units with Personnel from New Regiments Composed of Mobilized Soldiers
Far from all the new units composed of mobilized soldiers were immediately deployed to the frontline. Many of them remained at formation bases, training centers and training ranges, where they either underwent or were supposed to undergo training. Meanwhile, at least some of these units became a personnel source for replenishing regular units. For example, the 3rd MRD of the 20th CAA, which was reinforced with new recruits in the first weeks of mobilization and even managed to send them to the frontline, in late November dispatched special recruiting teams to various training centers. In particular, officers from the 752nd and 252nd MRRs, the 237th Tank Regiment and the 84th Separate Reconnaissance Battalion were dispatched to the 371st Motorized Rifle Regiment, formed on the basis of the Yaroslavl Higher Military School of Anti-Aircraft Warfare, the 361st Motorized Rifle Regiment, formed on the basis of Smolensk Military Academy of Field Anti-Aircraft Defense, and the 1768th Motorized Rifle Battalion, formed on the basis of the 467th District Training Center in Kovrov. There, officers were to select personnel to replenish their units. The required number of reinforcements varied from unit to unit, with some needing to recruit 20 people, while others required 33. Meanwhile, the 361st MRR was supposed to send 120 soldiers to the 752nd MRR and 341 to the 237th TR. It is worth noting that we were unable to find information about the deployment of the 361st MRR, 371st MRR and 1768th MRB to the frontline, as well as any evidence of their participation in combat or information about casualties among the military personnel of these units. Thus, we conclude that these units were created as a source of reinforcements for other units and were not intended for use in combat. It is likely that there are other units of a similar nature and the practice of sending teams to recruit reinforcements is also used by other regular units. However, such information has not been publicly disclosed.
It is worth noting that we have discovered a new type of unit—separate reserve battalions. Based on the available information, they do not have a direct connection to the mobilization and were created later than the units composed of mobilized soldiers, i.e., during the winter of 2022-2023. These units show evidence of the presence of both mobilized soldiers and contract soldiers. It is also important to mention that all of these battalions have a clearly traceable link to regular units. The reserve battalion established in the Primorsky region (military unit 54678) is affiliated with the 127th Motorized Rifle Division, the 1528th Battalion with the 74th Motorized Rifle Brigade, the 1529th with the 35th Motorized Rifle Brigade, the 1530th with the 37th Motorized Rifle Brigade, and the 1531st with the 36th Motorized Rifle Brigade.
Although there is even less information available about these units than about the ones composed of mobilized soldiers, we assume that they were established with the purpose of preparing reinforcements for pre-existing regular units, most of whose personnel and officers have long been deployed to the combat zone. Therefore, reserve battalions located in the rear may be involved in recruiting and training new contract soldiers, as well as collecting soldiers returning from hospitals after being wounded. From the personnel gathered in this way—both from contract soldiers and mobilized individuals—they form and prepare small groups that are then sent to the combat zone to replenish their "parent" units.
In conclusion, we would like to mention another newly established unit that we have identified—the 378th Regiment, created relatively recently and apparently connected with the Ministry of Defense's campaign of recruiting convicts. The regiment's command refers to it as the "Z Assault Detachments Training Regiment" and has even created a simple emblem for the unit. As a matter of fact, the label "Assault Detachments Z," or simply "Storm Z," refers to units formed from ex-convicts who have signed contracts with the Ministry of Defense. After undergoing brief training in this unit, ex-convicts are then assigned to assault detachments within units that are directly involved in combat: in particular, on the Zaporizhzhia axis, where the heaviest fighting is taking place as part of the AFU summer offensive. Thus, the 378th Regiment performs functions similar to those described earlier for separate reserve battalions, except it targets ex-convicts specifically.
To summarize, we can identify three main pathways for incorporating mobilized soldiers into the structure of the RuAF. The first pathway involves sending conscripts directly to regular units. This approach appears to have been most actively used in the initial stages of mobilization. The second pathway entails forming new units entirely composed of mobilized soldiers, with subsequent training (though often without any) and deployment of the entire unit to the frontline. The third pathway involves creating new units for the preliminary training of mobilized soldiers, followed by their use as a source to replenish losses in pre-existing regular units. This is likely how the separate reserve battalions we have discovered are utilized, too.
In the months leading up to mobilization, the RuAF had suffered significant losses of personnel, including not only those dead and injured, but also the so-called refuseniks—those who avoided getting caught up in the war taking advantage of legal loopholes, still in effect at the time. Moreover, as it stands, regular units of the Russian Army had been understaffed even prior to the invasion of Ukraine. By the time mobilization was launched, we estimate that RuAF regular units, further depleted by six months of hostilities, might have needed as many as 90,000 soldiers to refill their ranks. To address this shortage, a percentage of mobilized men was directly allocated to those regular units.
The total number of draftees enrolled—about 300,000—greatly exceeded the demand for manpower within pre-existing regular units. The vast majority of the remainder were assigned to the new military units formed specifically for this purpose within the RuAF. Most of these new units were motorized rifle regiments, although a few motorized rifle battalions, artillery regiments, artillery battalions, engineer-sapper regiments and tank regiments were also created. Overall, we have found evidence of at least 123 such newly established units. We believe that the total headcount of those units could amount to 190,000-200,000 men. This estimate closely correlates with our assessment of personnel shortage in regular military units and with the total number of mobilized Russian citizens. Approximately one third of draftees replenished regular units, while the other two thirds were assigned to newly created units.
In both cases, the distribution of mobilized soldiers was primarily location-based. Regular units were replenished by men mobilized from the same region the unit was located in, or from neighboring regions (with the only exception of the Russian Airborne Troops which also absorbed draftees from three Siberian regions who received training at the 242nd Training Center of the Airborne Troops near Omsk). Newly formed military units emerged from the training centers which accommodated draftees coming from the surrounding areas, as we covered in our first report. Therefore, the regional composition of a unit was contingent on the training center the unit was formed in.
No professional selection process was put in place to support the distribution of mobilized troops across military units. What stands out the most in this respect are the Airborne and Naval Infantry units, which are regarded as elite. Even these branches absorbed unskilled personnel mobilized locally, while former marines and paratroopers mobilized from other regions were allocated to regular Ground Forces units.
Regardless of whether a mobilized soldier was placed into a pre-existing regular unit or a newly formed unit, they could end up on the frontline as early as two weeks after the launch of mobilization. It was at that point that the first evidence emerged of mobilized men being engaged in combat, in particular, in the Svatove direction. The same dates are referenced in the first obituaries of mobilized men who lost their lives in the war. In the meantime, however, the larger part of mobilized personnel still remained stationed at training centers and military bases, awaiting deployment to the war zone. By January 2023, most of the newly formed units had been moved either to the frontline, or to reserve positions in areas nearby.
The formation of new units within the RuAF is quite a complex topic. We were able to find some sources and references addressing this subject, but the details they provide are scarce. Apparently, the key difference between units composed of mobilized soldiers and regular units was the adaptability of the former. Thus, it was not uncommon for newly formed units to be redeployed from one military district to another, subordinated to various other units, fragmented into subunits, and even disbanded.
Our findings show that new separate reserve battalions were organized within pre-existing regular units in the winter of 2022-2023, with the aim to train volunteer recruits of the RuAF and absorb soldiers returning to duty after injuries. From there, soldiers would deploy to the battalion’s parent unit engaged in active combat. Finally, a separate regiment was formed to train ex-convicts recruited by the Ministry of Defense. This regiment is known as the "Z Assault Detachments Training Regiment" and is presumably used as a reserve battalion exclusively for ex-convicts.
Table: Known Newly Formed Units
Pre-existing RuAF military units and formations mentioned in the article and their structural organization
- 1st Guards Tank Army (1st TA)
- 2nd Guards Motorized Rifle Division (2nd MRD)
- 4th Guards Tank Division (4th TD)
- 47th Guards Tank Division (47th TD)
- 27th Guards Separate Motorized Rifle Brigade (27th MRBr)
- 20th Guards Combined Arms Army (20th CAA)
- 3rd Motorized Rifle Division (3rd MRD)
- 252nd Guards Motorized Rifle Regiment (252nd MRR)
- 752nd Guards Motorized Rifle Regiment (752nd MRR)
- 237th Tank Regiment (237th TR)
- 84th Separate Reconnaissance Battalion (84th Recon Bn)
- 144th Guards Motorized Rifle Division (144th MRD)
- 6th Combined Arms Army (6th CAA)
- 25th Guards Separate Motorized Rifle Brigade (25th MRBr)
- 138th Guards Separate Motorized Rifle Brigade (138th MRBr)
- 3rd Army Corps (3rd AC)*
- 11th Army Corps (11th AC)
- 14th Army Corps (14th AC)
- 61st Naval Infantry Brigade (61 NIBr)
- 8th Guards Combined Arms Army (8th CAA)
- 1st Army Corps (1st AC)*
- 1st Separate Motorized Rifle Brigade (1st MRBr)
- 5th Separate Motorized Rifle Brigade (5th MRBr)
- 9th Separate Motorized Rifle Brigade (9th MRBr)
- 132nd Separate Motorized Rifle Brigade (132nd MRBr)
- 2nd Army Corps (2nd AC)*
- 83rd Separate Motorized Rifle Brigade (83rd MRBr)
- 85th Separate Motorized Rifle Brigade (85th MRBr)
- 88th Separate Motorized Rifle Brigade (88th MRBr)
- 123rd Separate Motorized Rifle Brigade (123rd MRBr)
- 150th Motorized Rifle Division (150th MRD)
- 20th Guards Motorized Rifle Division (20th MRD)
- 49th Combined Arms Army (49th CAA)
- 58th Combined Arms Army (58th CAA)
- 19th Motorized Rifle Division (19th MRD)
- 42nd Guards Motorized Rifle Division (42nd MRD)
- Black Sea Fleet
- 2nd Guards Combined Arms Army (2nd CAA)
- 297th Anti-Aircraft Missile Brigade (297th AAMBr)
- 385th Guards Artillery Brigade (385th ARBr)
- 2nd NBC Protection Regiment (2nd NBCPR)
- 41st Combined Arms Army (41st CAA)
- 35th Guards Separate Motorized Rifle Brigade (35th MRBr)
- 55th Separate Motorized Rifle Brigade (55th MRBr)
- 74th Guards Separate Motorized Rifle Brigade (74th MRBr)
- 90th Guards Tank Division (90th TD)
- 5th Combined Arms Army (5th CAA)
- 127th Motorized Rifle Division (127th MRD)
- 57th Guards Separate Motorized Rifle Brigade (57th MRBr)
- 60th Separate Motorized Rifle Brigade (60th MRBr)
- 29th Combined Arms Army (29th ОА)
- 36th Combined Arms Army (36th CAA)
- 5th Guards Separate Tank Rifle Brigade (5th TBr)
- 37th Guards Separate Motorized Rifle Brigade (37th MRBr)
- 68th Army Corps (68th AC)
- Pacific Fleet
- 11th Guards Air Assault Brigade (11th AABr)
- 31th Guards Air Assault Brigade (31st AABr)
- 83rd Guards Air Assault Brigade (83rd AABr)
- 7th Guards Air Assault Division (7th AAD)
- 76th Guards Air Assault Division (76th AAD)
- 98th Guards Airborne Division (98th ABD)
- 106th Guards Airborne Division (106th ABD)