The Splitting of the Russian Western Military District

Sukhoi Su-25 [RG1] of the Russian Air Force landing at Vladivostok

“A new air and air defense army will be deployed against NATO…”

Russia announced plans for a large expansion of the Russian Armed Forces at an extended session of the collegium of the Russian Ministry of Defense held in December 2022.1Part of this plan involved the creation of two military districts and a new air and air defense army. The accompanying excerpted article from the pro-Kremlin daily newspaper Izvestiya discusses how Russian plans to create these two military districts and suggests how the new air and air defense army will be created. The Western Military District, which was created during the ‘New Look’ reforms, will be split into two new military districts that restore the previously abolished Moscow and Leningrad military districts.[i] The 6th Air and Air Defense Army in St. Petersburg will likely remain at its present location, and the new air and air defense army will likely be assigned to the Moscow Military District. The preponderance of the new air and air defense army’s combat power will be drawn from units currently in the 6th Air and Air Defense Army.


Roman Kretsul Alexey Ramm, “Полетный рубеж: новая армия ВВС и ПВО прикроет западные границы России Ее развернут в Московском или Ленинградском военном округе (Flight milestone: the new army of the Air Force and Air Defense will cover the western borders of Russia It will be deployed in the Moscow or Leningrad military district),” Izvestiya (Pro-Kremlin daily newspaper), 6 June 2023.

A new air and air defense army will be deployed against NATO, sources in the Russian Defense Ministry told Izvestia. It will be formed in the Western strategic direction as part of the Moscow or Leningrad military district. It will consist of several fighter regiments, a bomber regiment, an army aviation brigade, as well as air defense units and radiotechnical troops. According to experts, the strengthening of the western borders by the Aerospace Forces is especially important against the backdrop of the entry into NATO of Finland and, in the near future, Sweden…

In early June, the head of the Main Organizational and Mobilization Directorate (GOMU) of the General Staff of the RF Armed Forces, Yevgeny Burdinsky, confirmed that two military districts would be created this year. He also announced plans to create two armies – combined arms and air and air defense. The direction where they will be formed, Burdinsky did not specify…

Currently, the Western Military District includes the 6th Air and Air Defense Army. It consists of one composite aviation division, several helicopter regiments, and an army aviation brigade. Also, this formation has two air defense divisions equipped with S-300 [RG1] and S-400 [RG2] anti-aircraft systems. The zone of responsibility of the 6th Army is one of the biggest. It covers the territory of Russia from Karelia to Voronezh…This is not the first time in recent memory that the Ministry of Defense has strengthened the aviation component in the western strategic direction. As Izvestia earlier reported, this year ground attack aviation units, equipped with the famous ‘Rooks’, of the Su-25 attack family, should appear here. Until recently, there was not a single strike aviation regiment in the Western Military District. The task of the “Rooks” will be the direct support of the Ground Forces on the battlefield. The attack aircraft will also coordinate with army aviation helicopters…


[i] The ‘New Look’ reforms were a series of major Russian military reforms that occurred from 2009-2012.

Image Information:

Image: Sukhoi Su-25 [RG1] of the Russian Air Force landing at Vladivostok
Attribution: CC BY-SA 2.0