Armies of Russia's War in Ukraine

Armies of Russia's War in Ukraine

Elite 228
  • Author: Mark Galeotti
  • Illustrator: Adam Hook
  • Short code: ELI 228
  • Publication Date: 27 Jun 2019
  • Number of Pages: 64
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About this Product

Explaining and illustrating the immediate background to the current Russian invasion of Ukraine, this book investigates the Ukrainian and Russian regular and irregular forces which have been fighting in the Donbas region since 2014.

In February 2014, street protests in Kyiv and other Ukrainian cities led to the ousting of the Russian-backed President Yanukovych. Simultaneously, Russia carried out an almost-bloodless seizure of Ukraine's Crimean peninsula. Ukraine's ‘Euromaidan Revolution' would see many changes to the country's constitution, and a turn towards the West for civic assistance and military training. Meanwhile, a violent reaction in the mainly Russian-speaking south-eastern industrial Donbas region led to a local armed counter-revolution, backed by Russia from April 2014.

This conflict became an essential example of Russia's policy of so-called ‘hybrid warfare', which pursues its strategic aims by a blend of propaganda and misinformation with the clandestine deployment of Special Forces and regular troops, alongside ‘deniable' proxies and mercenaries. Meanwhile, Ukraine's efforts to reform its government culminated in the landslide election of President Zelensky in April 2019.

Using his extensive contacts in both Russia and Ukraine, Prof Mark Galeotti presents a thorough and intriguing primer on all the forces involved in the conflict up to 2018. Supported by orders-of-battle, colour photos and specially commissioned artwork, his book also analyses the background and the stuttering progress of the war, and addresses the Russian military capabilities which are today being tested in all-out battle.

Biographical Note

Professor Mark Galeotti, formerly senior lecturer in international history at Keele University, is Clinical Professor of Global Affairs, New York University. He is a former Foreign Office adviser on Russian security affairs, and for 15 years (1991-2006) wrote a monthly column on this for Jane's Intelligence Review. Mark's most recent books for Osprey are ELI 217 The Modern Russian Army 1992-2016 and ELI 197 Russian Security and Paramilitary Forces since 1991.Johnny Shumate works as a freelance illustrator living in Nashville, Tennessee. He began his career in 1987 after graduating from Austin Peay State University. Most of his work is rendered in Adobe Photoshop using a Cintiq monitor. His greatest influences are Angus McBride, Don Troiani and Édouard Detaille.


Introduction: brief overview of the complex relationship between Russia and Ukraine, and the ejection of President Yanukovych in the 'Maidan Revolution' of February 2014.
Taking Crimea: summary of Russia's seizure of Crimea from Ukraine, the forces involved, and the military lessons learned.
'Hybrid War' in the Donbas: overview of the war's progress up to 2018, and such incidents as the shooting down of Malaysian Airlines Flight MH17.
Russian Proxy Forces: local militias, volunteers, Cossacks and mercenaries; career of 'Igor Strelkov', 'defence minister' of the self-styled Donetsk People's Republic; the Vostock Battalion, Chechen veterans organized by the GRU; Russia's difficulty in controlling its proxies.
Russian Regular Forces: the battalion tactical groups - order of battle; the battle of Debaltseve - a month-long conflict which obliged Russian regulars to intervene; the battle of Zelenopillya - destruction of Ukrainian mechanized units by Russian artillery.
Ukrainian Auxiliary Forces: volunteer militias bankrolled by oligarchs - orders of battle of volunteer battalions.
The battle for Donetsk Airport - the vicious four-month 'battle of the Cyborgs'.
Ukrainian Regular Forces: structure, equipment, tactics, and developing capabilities; Ukrainian Army order of battle; Ukrainian Navy and Naval Infantry.
The Future? Identifiable trends, e.g. drone-controlled artillery; blending of militias; intelligence; deniable regular forces; and Russia's use of mercenaries as part of 'hybrid warfare', in Ukraine and later Syria.