Saturday, 26 November 2022

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By Stijn Mitzer and Joost Oliemans
 
Few Russian weapons systems have managed to impress international audiences during the 2022 Russo-Ukrainian War. Though this is partially the result of decades of hyping up Russian weapons systems to standards they could never live up to by Western think tanks, Russia also failed to timely invest in certain technologies and thus is a latecomer to systems such as unmanned combat aerial vehicles (UCAVs) and loitering munitions. Despite having designed a host of guided weapons systems, few were ever acquired by the Russian Air Force in any meaningful numbers, which mostly continues to make use of 1980s-era Kh-25s and Kh-29s and even unguided bombs. Even Russia's most modern precision-guided munitions (PGMs) have been observed to be lacking in accuracy, especially compared to Western PGMs.

Friday, 25 November 2022

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By Stijn Mitzer and Joost Oliemans
 
The use of Iranian-designed loitering munitions by Russia has received a large share of international media attention. Though they are a menace to Ukraine's civilian infrastructure, Russia has so far largely refrained from using them against Ukrainian military targets. A more serious development to Ukraine's Armed Forces comes in the form of the indigenously-designed Kub and Lancet-3(M) loitering munitions that Russia has increasingly been deploying to strike Ukrainian artillery, radars and surface-to-air missile (SAM) systems out of reach from Russia's ground-based assets.
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By Stijn Mitzer and Joost Oliemans

Transnistria, or the Pridnestrovian Moldavian Republic (PMR) as it is officially called, is a breakaway state situated between Moldova and Ukraine that has largely escaped the world's attention ever since its self-proclaimed independence as a Soviet republic in 1990 and the subsequent violent secession from Moldova in 1992. When Transnistria took control over most of the weapons storage depots located on its territory, it inherited large amounts of highly specialised vehicles while being left without any significant numbers of (self-propelled) artillery or infantry fighting vehicles (IFVs). The limited amount of such equipment that was present in Transnistria was returned to Russia after the conclusion of hostilities, leaving the PMR with an extensive arsenal of engineering vehicles only in service with a few countries in the world, while being almost completely deprived of equipment such as artillery and IFVs. 

Thursday, 24 November 2022

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By Stijn Mitzer and Joost Oliemans

The Moldovan Armed Forces is one of the most elusive fighting forces in Europe. As the poorest country on the European continent, Moldova has the dubious honour of not having made one acquisition for its military since independence from the Soviet Union in 1991. Instead, it has been the recipient of military aid from Romania in the 1990s and the United States throughout the 2000s and 2010s, and has in recent years attempted to improve the fighting efficacy of its forces by launching a number of upgrade projects for its armoured fighting vehicles (AFVs).

Wednesday, 23 November 2022

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By Stijn Mitzer and Joost Oliemans
 
How to provide the Ukrainian Armed Forces with military aid when your country barely possesses a military in the first place? That's a question the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg must have asked itself in late February shortly after Russia launched its invasion of Ukraine. But while Belgium is still struggling for an answer to this question even in November 2022, the Lëtzebuerger Arméi reacted quickly, and immediately donated seven Jeep Wranglers, 102 NLAW anti-tank guided missiles (ATGMs) and 15 military tents to Ukraine on the 28th of February 2022. [1]
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By Stijn Mitzer and Joost Oliemans

Chechen forces are an integral part of Russia's Armed Forces. Its military formations have generally been described as 'Feuerwehr Der Front' during the 2022 Russo-Ukrainian War, leading assaults and plugging holes in Russia's defensive lines. The tendency of some Chechen fighters to film and upload their exploits in combat on TikTok has also resulted in the less glamorous title of TikTok Brigade. In reality, Chechen forces appear to be faring better than most analogous units in the Russian military. Though Chechen units are part of the National Guard, and thus trained and equipped to combat internal threats, they have been mostly deployed to fight a conventional conflict in Ukraine.

Tuesday, 22 November 2022

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By Stijn Mitzer and Joost Oliemans
 
The conclusion of the two-year-long First Chechen War in 1997 gave rise to internal chaos as the government of President Aslan Maskhadov proved unable to rebuild Chechnya and reign in the increasing number of Islamist factions in the Republic. Despite Maskhadov's decision to abolish the Chechen parliament and introduce aspects of Sharia law to appease Islamist factions, figures such as Shamil Basayev and Saudi-born Ibn al-Khattab effectively continued to undermine Maskhadov's rule. In April 1998, the Islamic International Peacekeeping Brigade, led by Basyev and al-Khattab, publicly declared its goal of creating an Islamic Emirate on the territory of Chechnya and Dagestan and the expulsion of Russians from the entire Caucasus: The seeds for the Second Chechen War (1999-2009) had been sowed.