Russian special operations forces are under attack in Ukraine

Russian Spetsnaz military parade

Russian Spetsnaz troops will march on Red Square on May 9, 2021 at the Victory Day military parade.Mikhail Svetlov / Getty Images

  • In the struggle in Ukraine, the Russian army has relied heavily on the most highly trained army.

  • The battle made great sacrifices to those troops, including a special operator of Russia’s famous Spetsnaz.

  • Moscow may be more dependent on these operators as it updates its campaign with a focus on eastern Ukraine.

Russian troops are struggling in Ukraine and have failed to achieve any of their main objectives after two months of combat.

Moscow has reduced its ambitions by focusing on eastern Ukraine.that is Update that attackHowever, its performance has already influenced its reputation for military power, questioning its status as a “near-pier” unit.

Among the Russian units Affected are the famous Spetsnaz.. During and after the Cold War, these special operators gained legendary status in the West. Recent successes in Crimea and Syria appear to have been added to their credentials.

But along with other Russian troops, their reputation is undermined in Ukraine.

Just a few miles from Kieu, the city of Ilpin was the base of Russian special operations forces up to the Ukrainian army. Exiled Russians In late March. The brutal battle over the port city of Mariupol, one of the strategic goals that Moscow has concentrated its most capable troops on, is Oversized toll About a special Russian operator.

Spetsnaz: Russian special operator

Russian Spetsnaz Special Operations Unit

An army belonging to the 14th Independent Special Purpose Brigade of the Russian Army during the exercise on February 15, 2017.Ministry of Defense of Russia /

Moscow established the first special operations force, the Spetsnaz, in the 1950s to carry out strategic missions.

Spetsnaz initially played a strategic role, but now all special operations forces of the Russian Army, law enforcement, emergency and security services are called Spetsnaz.

In general, the military Spetsnaz unit is a light infantry paratrooper that can act as an assault unit. Several elite Spetsnaz units, such as Alpha and Vympel Groups, have strategic missions such as counterterrorism, anti-proliferation, and nuclear facility security.

There are limited reports of what Russian special operations forces did in Ukraine or how they performed, but their missions there include special reconnaissance, direct-action warfare, and unconventional warfare. May include war.

One of the few advantages the Russian army has taken against Ukraine is its long-range weapons. Russia has launched more than 1,500 ballistic and cruise missiles at Ukrainian targets.

Russian Spetsnaz Special Operations Unit

The army of the Spetsnaz GRU Brigade, the Russian Army’s Second Separation Special Purpose Brigade during exercises.Konstantin Morozov / Ministry of Defense of Russia /

Russian special operators can infiltrate near these targets and use special equipment to guide ammunition. The fact that Moscow completely ignores collateral damage means that it may not be using such targeted support, but if the Kremlin wants to rob Ukrainian leaders on a strategic strike. Can use that skill set.

Russian special operations forces may also be conducting direct-action operations such as raids and ambush to pursue tactical-level targets such as the occupation of districts.

In general, it is foolish to use a special operator for normal operations. Because their potential casualties waste the time and money used to train them to a high level. Where Russian command close-quarters combat training may make a difference between winning and losing.

Russia may also use its special operations forces for unconventional warfare and asymmetric operations. Russian troops have been supporting separatist forces in eastern Ukraine for years, and that effort may expand as Moscow redirects its military operations to the region.

Russian special operators can also target Ukrainian strategic targets such as airfields, fuel and arsenal.Already there Report Of the Russian Navy Spetsnaz attacking a Ukrainian military intelligence ship.

Learn from the enemy

Russian Spetsnaz Special Operations Unit

A member of the 22nd Independent Guard Special Forces of the Russian Army during the exercise on November 24, 2017.Ministry of Defense of Russia /

When it comes to special operations forces, the Russian army had ample opportunity to learn from the United States.

US Special Operations Forces for the last 20 years Was at the tip of the spear.. Their ability to perform high-paying missions with less military or political risk than larger traditional units has made them a reliable option for American policy makers.

The Russian army began a major reorganization in 2008, partly through the formation of a dedicated special operations command organization. Russian, created in 2009 Special operations Army General Army Is a strategic-level special operations organization with the most difficult and most important missions.

“Russians are not stupid. They would have seen how successful we were in adopting SOF. [special-operations forces] Downrange during the war on terrorism [Global War on Terror] And I took their notes. That’s what we do. “

It is not clear what the Russian army has learned about military doctrine, but open source information has shown “how our operations affected their equipment and training.”

Russian Spetsnaz Special Operations Unit

The unit of the 22nd Independent Guard Special Forces of the Russian Army during the exercise on November 24, 2017.Ministry of Defense of Russia /

“It’s interesting because both American and Russian operators tend to wear MultiCam, which can be difficult to distinguish. [camouflage]Carry a high-cut helmet, and a similar assault loadout. Only weapons can tell the difference. “

Moscow used the creation of the US Joint Special Operations Command, a component of the US Special Operations Command, as a model for its new command.

Smaller than the new Russian command, but for JSOC U.S. military special task forceThe most elite special operations organization that makes up the National Mission Strike Force in the United States.

Moscow wanted to recreate the effectiveness of JSOC and bring together its best special operations forces to promote better command and control. Even the Spetsnaz unit of GRU, the Russian military intelligence agency, was reassigned to GRU in 2013, but transferred to a new organization.

“SOF people tend to be cut from the same cloth. Training, mission sets, funding can be different, and in some cases the world can be far apart, but the highest level people are very similar. “Tends to be,” said the retired operator. ..

Stavros Atlamazoglou is a defense journalist specializing in special operations, a veteran of the Greek Army (the 575th Marine Battalion and the National Service of the Army Council), and a graduate of Johns Hopkins University.

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