In our effort to discover and identify Russian military units in Rostov group of the invasion forces, we have observed for the first time a unit of the 33rd Motorized Rifle Brigade (Mountain) of the 49th Army of the Southern Military District, military unit 22179 (based in Maykop, Adygea).
Based on the information we were able to obtain, the 33rd Brigade is represented in Rostov region by a combined unit (supposedly, a company tactical group) consisting of motorized infantry and recon troops equipped with MT-LB APCs, artillery (Gvozdika self-propelled howitzers and Grad MLRS), and air defense systems (ZU-23-2 AA cannons mounted on Kamaz trucks and Strela-10 SAM). The unit consists of both contract servicemen and conscripts. The personnel are rotated frequently. As of November, the CTG was positioned deep in a forest near Skelyanskiy villiage of Kuybyshevsky district of Rostov Region, 15-18 km from the Ukrainian border.
It’s worth noting that back in September 2014 the media reported several casualties in the 33rd Brigade, including the officer from Tatarstan named Zakhar Timin (http://censor.net.ua/p303218).
Note: 33rd Separate Motorized Rifle Brigade (Mountain), m/u 22179, just like its clone, 34th SMRB (m/u 01485, Storozhevaya-2, Karachayevo-Cherkessia) – are the creations of Putin. He personally managed its formation. It started in 2005 and was justified by the need for anti-terrorist activities in the North Caucasus. The brigade’s structure provides for two motorized rifle battalions, a special forces battalion, a howitzer and a rocket artillery battalions, an anti-aircraft battalion, and supply units, with approximately 2200 personnel.
Initially the brigade was based in the village of Botlikh in Dagestan, where brand new infrastructure was built to satisfy its needs. In 2011 the brigade was deployed from Dagestan to Adygea, the city of Maykop, to the base previously occupied by the former 131st Motorized Rifle Brigade (131 MRB was deployed to the occupied Georgian region of Abkhazia in 2008 and reformed as the 7th Military Base based in Gudauta). The original base of the brigade is now used by the 1327th Center of Special and Reconnaissance Units, which provides special combat training to units of Russian Army Ground Forces, Airborne, and Main Intelligence Department.
Currently, the 33rd Brigade is “mountain” in name only. The original plan to use only contract servicemen and develop it into proper mountain special forces has failed, and there haven’t been enough conscripts to reach full complement for multiple conscription cycles. The only combat ready unit of the brigade is the reconnaissance battalion, staffed with hardened contract troopers with the experience of service in the Caucasus. A unit of the 33rd Brigade took part in Russia-Georgia war in August of 2008.
Author Irakly Komakhidze
Translation – Eugenia Zlamanuk
Edited by – Max Alginin
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