Russia forms air assault brigades to operate behind Ukrainian lines — ISW
Russian forces are forming specialized air assault brigades for reconnaissance and to land behind the Ukrainian defense line.
This is stated in a report from the Institute for the Study of War (ISW).
The ISW report highlights that Russian sources view this development as not entirely new, drawing parallels with past Soviet operations in Afghanistan.
The air assault brigades, integrated into ground formations, are expected to execute landings in the Ukrainian rear without parachutes. This involves utilizing helicopters for swift deployment of personnel, similar to the tactics employed during the initial battles for Hostomel airport near Kyiv on February 24, 2022.
Currently, one such unit is operational in the Zaporizhzhia region - the 49th Separate Air Assault Brigade within the 58th Combined Arms Army (Southern Military District).
Analysts speculate that while airborne assault brigades traditionally belong to the Russian Airborne Forces (VDV), the Russian ground forces may attempt to establish similar formations.
The ISW notes instances of forming reconnaissance and assault brigades within joint military formations, emphasizing that these specialized units aim to address specific tactical challenges Russian forces face in Ukraine.
“The deployment of air assault brigades in isolation from the wider VDV force structure, however, will likely mean that these specialized air assault brigades will be used as yet another means of conducting attritional infantry-led frontal assaults on Ukrainian fortified positions in the short term,” the experts note.
- Notably, Colonel Natalia Humeniuk observed that recent assault actions on the left bank of the Kherson region did not yield the desired results for the enemy's military and political leadership, prompting a shift to air attacks.