Russia likely to actively use its airborne forces in offensive operations in Ukraine, says UK intelligence

11 April, 12:35 PM
Russian Solntsepek (Photo:Serge/flickr)

Russian Solntsepek (Photo:Serge/flickr)

Russia may start actively using its airborne forces in future offensive operations against Ukraine, the UK’s Ministry of Defense wrote in its regular daily update on Twitter on April 11.

UK intelligence said that as of April 3, 2023, Russian media reported the transfer of TOS-1A thermobaric multiple launch rocket systems to Russian airborne forces (VDV).

“The highly destructive TOS-1A, which Russia designates as a ‘heavy flamethrower,’ is typically operated by Russia’s specialist Chemical, Biological and Radiological Protection Troops in Ukraine, and has not previously been formally associated with the VDV,” the ministry said in its daily summary.

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The agency notes that the transfer likely indicates a future role for the VDV in offensive operations in Ukraine.

“It is likely part of efforts to reconstitute the VDV after it suffered heavy casualties in the first nine months of the war,” reads the report.

Ukrainian Spokesperson for the Eastern Group of Forces Colonel Serhiy Cherevatyi said on April 9 that Russian airborne forces began to appear in the town of Bakhmut, Donetsk Oblast.

The U.S. think tank Institute for the Study of War (ISW) said that Russia likely wants to use them to reinforce conventional, rather than Wagner Group, forces.

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