Rob Lee Profile picture
PhD student @warstudies. Senior Fellow @FPRI. Previously @USMC, @ColumbiaSIPA, @CentreAST. Focused on Russian defense policy.
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Jan 26 5 tweets 4 min read
Videos of paratroopers from the VDV’s 76th Air Assault Division on the Kreminna front with T-72B3, BMD-2, and BTR-ZD.
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t.me/komdiv_76/293 twitter.com/i/web/status/1… Improvised armor on the T-72B3 and BMD-2.
Jan 25 6 tweets 2 min read
Ruslan Pukhov argues that the delivery of Abrams tanks could seriously aggravate the situation at the front for Russian forces because even export variants of the M1A2 SEP V2 is significantly better than existing Russian tanks in serial production.
mk.ru/politics/2023/… This doesn't include T-90M, which aren't in serial production. He says Russian tanks are using old Soviet-era ammunition, which is sufficient against T-64, T-72, and T-80 tanks at short ranges, but NATO tanks could engage them at longer distances, putting them at a disadvantage.
Jan 25 9 tweets 2 min read
Thread. It's good news that NATO members will provide modern tanks to Ukraine. Tanks remain a critical component in ground warfare, and Ukraine has the most experienced tank crews in the world. However, we should be realistic about what these deliveries mean. Ukraine's goal is to retake all of its territory occupied by Russia. Breaking through well-prepared defensive lines (and exploiting success) is difficult without significant combined arms advantages, and Ukraine is unlikely to have air superiority. 2/
Jan 20 5 tweets 3 min read
Interesting news. Sladkov confirms that the commander of the VDV Colonel General Mikhail Teplinsky was replaced by Lieutenant General Oleg Makarevich. It appears this change is associated with Gerasimov taking command of the war.
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vk.com/wall-200391_30… ImageImageImage A number of Telegram channels claimed this occurred a week ago, but Sladkov is a more credible source. Teplinsky appears to have been successful as the VDV commander, and he is popular among Russian channels, so this doesn't appear to be a performance-related change. 2/
Jan 19 4 tweets 1 min read
Russia's strategy previously appeared to hope that Western aid would dissipate over time. It now seems that Russia is girding itself for a long war even with continued aid to Ukraine. Thus, Western aid shouldn't just be focused on helping Ukraine sustain the war, but to win it. Tanks and APCs/IFVs will be critical for Kyiv to retake the rest of its territory, but they may not be enough. Kyiv needs to have superior combined arms capability to breakthrough prepared defensive positions. Hopefully, this change in thinking will extend to other capabilities.
Jan 17 4 tweets 2 min read
Sergei Shoigu also held a meeting to discuss increasing the size of the military to 1.5 million. Changes include creating Moscow and Leningrad military districts, an army corps in Karelia, three motorized rifle divisions, and 2 VDV air assault divisions.
tvzvezda.ru/news/202311711… He said that Russia would also stand up self-sufficient group of forces in the illegally annexed areas of Ukraine. He said 7 motorized rifle brigades in the Northern Fleet, Western, Central, and Eastern military districts would be upgraded to divisions. 2/
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Jan 17 4 tweets 3 min read
Sergei Shoigu paid a visit to the Eastern Group of Forces HQ. The video confirms that Rustam Muradov is still the East commander, and we have the first official confirmation that Lieutenant General Evgeny Nikiforov is the West commander.
tvzvezda.ru/news/202311772… Screenshots of Muradov and Nikiforov. The video also showed archive footage of Shoigu inspecting living quarters and trenches (likely not anywhere near the front), something Prigozhin has been doing and publicizing recently. 2/ ImageImageImageImage
Jan 14 5 tweets 3 min read
Seeing people suggest that Russia hasn't used ballistic missiles in this war but that isn't accurate. Russia used Iskander-M systems very actively in the beginning (including from Belarus), which can launch 9M723 quasi-ballistic missiles and cruise missiles, as well as Tochka-U. The Iskander-M is a very important system for the Russian Ground Forces and is typically an army-level asset. The deployment of Iskander-M systems from Central Military District's 448th Missile Brigade in the spring of 2021 and movement in October was a key warning sign. 2/
Jan 11 9 tweets 3 min read
The Russian Ministry of Defense announced that Valery Gerasimov is taking over as the commander of Russian forces in Ukraine. His deputies will be Surovikin, Army General Oleg Salyukov, and Colonel General Alexey Kim.
t.me/mod_russia/233… Salyukov is the commander of the Russian Ground Forces and Kim is its deputy commander. This appears to be a quite significant change. Not clear if this means Surovikin will be in charge of Russian Air Force operations or if the force groupings will remain the same.
Jan 5 4 tweets 2 min read
Viktor Murakhovsky, Rybar and Ilya Kramnik posted about Russia's artillery ammo issues. They suggest Russia produces/refurbishes 300k rounds per year (and had 2.6 million tons in storage in 2013) but was often firing 100k over the span of a couple of days.
t.me/Viktor_Murakho… Rybar gave a lower production figure, and said Russia started emptying warehouses with its expenditure rates but waited too long to ramp up production (and blamed former Minister Serdyukov for hurting VPK enterprises). Murakhovksy says they need millions of rounds per year. 2/
Jan 4 8 tweets 4 min read
A Russian Channel complained about the poor state of equipment and tanks in a Russian tank battalion (2nd Motorized Rifle Division). He says the tank’s engine doesn’t start, the gun can’t be loaded, and the operation of its systems can’t be checked.
t.me/vladlentatarsk… twitter.com/i/web/status/1… The 2nd MRD has been training/reconstituting in Belarus, which is where this battalion might be. The source says there are no spare parts, and this has been going on for a month. He says it isn't clear how many of the battalion's tanks would be capable of combat operations. 2/
Jan 2 8 tweets 6 min read
Anatomy of an OPSEC failure. A Russian volunteer posted photos on VK in Sahy, Kherson Oblast with member of the GRU's 10th Spetsnaz Brigade. He left the location tagging on, which makes it very easy to geolocate the Grand Prix country club from the tiles.
vk.com/milinfolive?w=… Footage of the Grand Prix country club in occupied Sahy, Kherson Oblast after a Ukrainian strike. 2/
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Jan 1 12 tweets 8 min read
A number of Russian Telegram channels are saying that Ukraine conducted a HIMARS strike on a building in occupied Makiivka where a large number of mobilized soldiers were staying.
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Jan 1 4 tweets 5 min read
More Prigozhin PR. The videos show him visiting the Wagner base in Molkino, a cemetery, Wagner chapel in Goryachy Klyuch, and wounded fighters.
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t.me/riafan_everywh… twitter.com/i/web/status/1… Notable that RIA Novosti is posting all of the videos of Prigozhin visiting fighters in the Donbas.
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Dec 29, 2022 6 tweets 2 min read
I actually think the upgrade of Bradleys over BMP-1 might be greater than Abrams over existing Ukrainian tanks. From more knowledgeable people:
Dec 25, 2022 4 tweets 2 min read
Russian Telegram channels are saying there are unconfirmed reports of an explosion at Engels airbase.
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t.me/milinfolive/94… twitter.com/i/web/status/1… 2/
Dec 21, 2022 4 tweets 3 min read
VDV forces in Ukraine, including a T-72B3 tank and Voin trousers.
t.me/Ugolok_Sitha/1… Russian paratroopers with AK-12 and AK-74 with 1P87 and Aimpoint CompM4S optics. 2/
Dec 18, 2022 5 tweets 2 min read
Not sure how this will be applied, but I try to almost always provide a source for the videos and photos I share. That way people can determine the credibility of the source themselves (e.g. Ukrainian military facebook accounts) and can track where the content originates. I think this is generally better for research and transparency reasons (as well as crediting the original source). Oftentimes, videos will get shared and the context of who shared them gets lost, especially when looking back at old videos/posts.
Dec 16, 2022 4 tweets 3 min read
The Ukrainian Air Force says that Russia launched 76 missiles today, including Kalibrs from the Admiral Makarov, ~27 S-300 missiles, Kh-22 from Tu-22M3 in the Sea of Azov, 4 Kh-59 and Kh-31P (likely from Su-35S), and Kh-101/Kh-555 launched from the Caspian and Saratov Oblast. 2/
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Dec 8, 2022 8 tweets 4 min read
Russian soldier with a C-UAS gun. 17/
t.me/Ugolok_Sitha/1… Image A Russian C-UAS gun with a Bushnell scope. 18/
t.me/opasny366/4426 Image
Dec 5, 2022 15 tweets 6 min read
There were explosions at 2 Russian Long-Range Aviation air bases today: Dyagilevo and Engels, which houses Tu-95MS and Tu-160 strategic bomber squadrons.
kommersant.ru/doc/5706238
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t.me/readovkanews/4… twitter.com/i/web/status/1… Baza says that the explosion at Entgels was caused by a UAV. Engels houses the 121st Heavy Bomber Aviation Regiment and Dyagilevo houses a training center and Russia’s only Il-78 Tanker Regiment. 2/