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What is This 25th Army (25 CAA), and How Can the Battles for Bakhmut Hinder russia From Deploying a New Airborne Division?

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russian occupiers in Ukraine / Open source illustrative photo
russian occupiers in Ukraine / Open source illustrative photo

How capable is the enemy of forming new bodies of troops, and what is the situation regarding personnel and equipment in this regard?

More and more information becomes available in the public domain about the russian army's plans to create new strategic-level formations, with the intention of deploying them further in the war against Ukraine. The discussion includes the formation of the new 25th Combined Arms Army (25 CAA), some units of which have already been relocated to the Kupiansk and Lyman directions. Or about the formation of the new 18th Army based on the 22nd Army Corps of the Coastal Forces of the russian Black Sea Fleet.

The question arises of how capable the enemy is in forming new units at the "division-general military army" level, and whether the russians are facing issues with equipment and personnel recruitment.

Read more: ​Russia’s 25th Combined Arms Army Deploys to Ukraine for the First Time and What Does It Mean
An assessment of the possible structure of the Russian Federation's 25th Combined Arms Army, Defense Express
An assessment of the possible structure of the Russian Federation's 25th Combined Arms Army by Rochan Consulting / Open source illustrative photo

In July 2023, in an interview with Ukrinform, the Deputy Chief of the Main Operational Department of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, Oleksiy Gromov reported that russia's 25th Combined Arms Army (25 CAA) was supposed to include one motorized rifle division, two motorized rifle brigades, and one tank brigade. However, it appears that during the formation of this army, the command of the russian Armed Forces had to reconsider its ambitions.

Currently, in russian and Western sources, it is reported that most likely the 25th Combined Arms Army of the russian federation consists of one motorized rifle division (67th), one motorized rifle brigade (164th), a separate tank brigade (11th), the 73rd artillery brigade, and support units.

An assessment of the possible structure of the Russian Federation's 25th Combined Arms Army, Defense Express
An assessment of the possible structure of the Russian Federation's 25th Combined Arms Army by Rochan Consulting / Open source illustrative photo

At the same time, the Head of the Defense Intelligence of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine, Kyrylo Budanov, stated in an interview with The Economist that russia's 25th Combined Arms Army received only 80% of the expected personnel and just 55% of the expected equipment and weaponry. It's worth noting that the 25th Army was being formed as part of the Central Military District and was supposed to have a 'reserve' status.

As for the 18th Army (russian federation), which is being deployed based on the 22nd Army Corps of the Coastal Troops of the Black Sea Fleet, the russians claim that it should include the 70th Motorized Rifle Division, a component of which is the 28th Motorized Rifle Regiment. However, the actual situation regarding equipment and personnel composition is currently unknown.

russian occupiers in Ukraine, Defense Express
russian occupiers in Ukraine / Open source illustrative photo

The russians also claim that by the end of 2023, the 104th Airborne Division is supposed to be re-established based on the 31st Brigade. However, according to reports from the Ukrainian military, the 31st Brigade suffered a defeat in battles near Bakhmut. Therefore, the enemy's plan to deploy a new 104th Airborne Division looks highly doubtful.

Moreover, it seems that the command of the russian army understands this. russian sources claim that the formation of the 44th Airborne Division is underway, which is supposed to include the 387th Motorized Rifle Regiment and the former "111th Mobilization Reserve Regiment" from the troops of the "1st and 2nd Army Corps."

the 44th Airborne Division, Defense Express
In the photo - presumably, one of the units of the 44th Airborne Division, December 2022 / Open source illustrative photo
Read more: Newly Created 72nd Motor Rifle Brigade of russian Army Completely Wiped Out in Eastern Ukraine