Order of battle for the Russian invasion of Ukraine

Last updated

This is the order of battle for the Russian invasion of Ukraine. It should not be considered completely up to date nor accurate, being based on open-source press reporting.


An updated order of battle estimate for April 23, 2023, by the Institute for the Study of War is accessible at:

Russian forces in 2022

Senior commanders for the 2022 invasion of Ukraine
Official portrait of Sergey Shoigu.jpg
General of the Army Sergei Shoigu, Minister of Defence
Valery Gerasimov official photo version 2017-07-11.jpg
General of the Army Valery Gerasimov, Chief of the General Staff and commander of Russian forces in Ukraine

Administrative chain of command

Commanders of the various MOD armed services and branches do not have operational control over the forces. They are responsible for force development and generation. The Chiefs of the ground forces, the aerospace forces, the navy, the strategic missile forces and the airborne forces also hold the appointments of Deputy Ministers of Defence, junior to the Chief of the General Staff, who is the First Deputy Minister of Defence.

The General Staff commands and controls forces through the National Defence Management Centre (NDMC). Operational control of the forces is carried out by the five Operational-Strategic Commands - the Western, Southern, Central and Eastern Military Districts and the OSK Northern Fleet, which is their equal. The Western and the Southern Military Districts share borders with Ukraine and are directly involved in the command and control of the operations.

Pre-2022 Russian military doctrine had specified that on the outbreak of war, armed forces from non-MOD services (like Rosgvardiya) would be placed under the General Staff. [1]

Initial force groupings

Ukrainian military commentator Yuri Butusov listed the following initial March 2022 deployment of Russian/allied forces: [13]

Southwestern Belarus grouping (blocking contingent against Ukrainian forces in Western Ukraine):

Southeastern Belarus grouping (Kyiv offensive direction):

Bryansk grouping (Chernihiv offensive direction):

Kursk – Belgorod grouping (Sumy offensive direction):

Voronezh grouping (Kharkiv offensive direction):

Smolensk grouping (operational reserve of the northern front)

Rostov grouping (Donbas and eastern Sea of Azov offensive direction)

Crimea grouping (southern Ukraine offensive direction):

Kuban grouping (operational reserve of the southern front)

Russian leaders 2022-23

Despite evolving Russian doctrine which specified all troops and forces operating from one Operational-Strategic Command (OSK) be placed under one commander, multiple repeated sources (Rochan Consulting, Center for Naval Analysis, British Ministry of Defence) reported that separate groupings of forces drawn from each of the four military districts, under the leadership of senior personnel from that military district, took part in the initial invasion. [14] President Vladimir Putin was repeatedly reported as taking a very involved stance, sometimes giving orders to field formations. [15]

In April 2022, the invasion began to run into setbacks; Russian forces were forced to withdraw from their attempt to take Kyiv. Therefore to handle a longer war, a single coordinating senior officer was appointed.

Russian/affiliated forces in 2023

Since 12 January 2023, Chief of the General Staff Army General Valery Gerasimov was appointed as commander of military operations in Ukraine, with Surovikin as his deputy. [18]

The actual operational chain of command of the Russian military effort in Ukraine is not public, changes, and is a mix of state and non-state bodies. Personal rivalries are evident. President Vladimir Putin however remains firmly in control, sometimes micromanaging. The loose connection of various mercenary bodies and Ramzan Kadyrov's Chechens to the official command chain [19] has been represented by placing them under headers separate to the Russian Armed Forces.

Scheduling and control of tactical fighter, ground attack, and strategic bomber "sorties" (one flight of one aircraft) is unclear.

On 18 April 2023, Russian official sources said that President Putin had held meetings in the Kherson area with several commanders. The President "..received reports from the commander of the Dnepr forces grouping, General Lieutenant Oleg Makarevich, the commander of the Vostok [Eastern] forces grouping, General Lieutenant Andrey Kuzmenko, and the deputy commander of the combined grouping, General Colonel Mikhail Teplinsky." [20] The meetings likely took place before April 16.



Reserve units of the Russian Armed Forces


Spetsnaz units

Clear evidence as to which Grouping of Forces these brigades belong to is not readily available.

Units returned to Russia:

Joint Group of Forces

Ukrainian forces

Senior Ukrainian commanders for the 2022 invasion of Ukraine [375]
Colonel General Oleksandr Syrskyi, Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces
Yuriy Sodol', 2015, 01.jpg
Lieutenant General Yurii Sodol, Commander of the Joint Operational Command