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UK intel: Russia deploys re-established airborne division in Kherson Oblast amid Ukrainian assaults

Russia’s deployment of the 104th Guards Airborne Division in Kherson Oblast revealed in the UK Defense Ministry’s intelligence update. Russia probably bolsters its military presence in the area in response to Ukrainian activities on the Dnipro’s eastern bank.
Ukrainian troops crossing the Dnipro River in Kherson Oblast. Screenshot from a Reporting From Ukraine video.
UK intel: Russia deploys re-established airborne division in Kherson Oblast amid Ukrainian assaults

The UK Defense Ministry’s November 30 update reveals the deployment of Russia’s re-established 104th Guards Airborne Division in Ukraine’s Kherson Oblast, which reportedly upsized from a brigade-sized formation starting August this year.

The deployment of the 104th Division increases the total number of Russian paratrooper divisions in Kherson region operating on the Dnipro River’s western bank to five. This indicates Russia’s concern about potential Ukrainian actions on the eastern bank, prompting the reinforcement of troops in the region.

The ministry tweeted:

  • Russia’s airborne forces, the VDV, has likely started deploying the newly formed 104th Guards Airborne Division (104 GAD) in Ukraine for the first time. The division is probably assembling in Kherson Oblast.
  • In August 2023, Russian defence minister Sergei Shoigu announced plans to re-establish 104 GAD, which was previously downsized to a smaller, brigade-sized formation in 1998.  Its subordinate units likely include the 337th regiment, an additional manoeuvre regiment, and the 52nd Artillery Brigade.
  • With the addition of the 104 GAD, the number of divisions in the VDV’s order of battle will increase to five. The division will likely be poorly trained and is unlikely to meet the erstwhile elite standards of the VDV. It will almost certainly receive close scrutiny from the Russian General responsible for Kherson, General Colonel Mikhail Teplinsky; his routine role is overall commander of the VDV.

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