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600-800 Russian military officers and generals permanently deployed to Donbas – Ukraine’s intelligence

Putin holding hand of Kuzovlev - Russian active-duty military general who participated in Russian invasion of Donbas.
Russian President Vladimir Putin (R) shaking the hand of Kuzovlev shortly after his return from the east of Ukraine where he used to partake in hostilities. 20 October 2015, Kremlin, Moscow, Russia. Photo:
600-800 Russian military officers and generals permanently deployed to Donbas – Ukraine’s intelligence
About 600 to 800 Russian military officers and generals have been permanently stationed in the temporarily occupied east of Ukraine, according to the Main Directorate of Intelligence (HUR) of Ukraine’s defense ministry. These figures were mentioned on the air of RFE/RL’s radio Donbas.Realii by Vadym Skibitskyi, a representative of the Ministry of Defense.

This statement came amid the ongoing Russian military buildup on Ukrainian borders and in occupied areas with its military readiness expected in January 2022, according to the assessment of the Ukrainian military.

Russian army top brass in Donbas

The two Russian-run self-proclaimed “republics” occupy roughly one-third of Ukraine’s Donbas region. Map: Euromaidan Press

Skibitskyi said that those 600-800 Russian regulars hold command positions in the so-called 1st and 2nd army corps of the Russian occupation forces in the occupied parts of Ukraine’s respective oblasts, Donetsk and Luhansk, collectively known as the Donbas.

On their return to Russia after their participation in hostilities in Ukraine, such generals and officers of the Russian Armed Forces receive state awards and career advancement in the Russian army, as reported in a Facebook post published on the HUR’s page.

“Speaking of generals, it was General Sergei Kuzovlev – the one who used to form the 2nd Army Corps – who became commander of the 20th Army and then the 8th Army after he returned to Russia from the military actions in Ukraine. Later, he was appointed as deputy commander of the Southern Military District of the Russian Armed Forces,” said Vadym Skibitskyi, and added that “At present, the staffs of the corps, brigade commands, and regiment commanders [in the occupied Donbas] are active-duty officers of the Russian armed forces.”

Chief of staff of Russia’s 58th Army commands fighters in Ukraine

Identified commanders of Russia’s “Army Corps” in Luhansk and Donetsk. Slide from the NSDC report, 2015.

Sergei Kuzovlev was one of the military leaders of the so-called Luhansk People’s Republic (LNR), which is the Russian-run administration of the occupied parts of Luhansk oblast. According to UNIAN, during his activities in the Donbas, Kuzovlev was hiding behind pseudonyms “Ignatov Sergei Yurievich,” “Tambov,” and “Ignatov.”

Replaced by Deputy Commander of Russia’s 58th army, Major General Yevgeny Nikiforov in March-April 2015, Kuzovlov was recalled to Russia. In 2021, Kuzovlev was promoted to the rank of colonel-general of the Russian Armed Forces.

“In October-November of this year, the top management of the 2nd army corps rotated. Now there is a new corps commander who has also arrived from Russia. The commanders of individual brigades are replaced. And this process has been ongoing continuously,” MinDef representative Skibitskyi explained on Donbas.Realii.[/quote]

Russia’s army corps 1 and 2

The 1st and 2nd army corps of the Russian occupation forces were formed on the basis of the Russian army’s battalion-tactical groups (BTG), according to the Main Directorate of Intelligence. Those BTGs invaded Ukraine in August and September 2014. These corps’ roles and areas are “clearly defined in the plans to use the Russian Armed Forces against our state,” HUR says the plans envisage using these occupation forces in both defensive and offensive operations.

According to the Chief Directorate of Intelligence, the 1st and the 2nd army corps of the Russian-occupation forces were formed on the basis of battalion tactical groups of the Russian Armed Forces which entered the territory of Ukraine in August and September 2014. The role and place of these corps are clearly defined in the plans for the use of the Russian Armed Forces against Ukraine, they are expected to conduct both defensive and offensive operations.

Largest-yet report on Ukraine invasion documents Russian army in Donbas

Recently, Ukraine’s Minister of Defense Oleksiy Reznikov said that Kyiv needs Western aid not only in the form of defensive armament but also the offensive one as Moscow has plans to unleash large-scale war. At the same time, he acknowledged that Ukrainians would defend themselves against the aggressor.

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