Russia’s 20th Combined Arms Army (CAA) is redeploying from Nizhegorod to Voronezh on Ukraine’s border, according to a TASS news agency source in the General Staff.
Reports of the army’s transfer from Nizhegorod Oblast, east of Moscow, first appeared in March. Some Russian media say its 9th Motorized Rifle Brigade has already relocated to Boguchar, southeast of Voronezh on the Ukrainian border. On 13 August, TASS reported that the army’s units will occupy existing garrisons in Orel, Kursk, Tambov, and Lipetsk Oblasts.
Moscow withdrew the 20th CAA from Germany by 1994, and it spent 16 years in Voronezh before relocating to Mulino, Nizhegorod in 2010.
The news agency’s source said the General Staff and Western Military District are determining the future composition of the 20th CAA, particularly new units to be formed or transferred from other military districts. Its major maneuver forces will likely include another motorized rifle brigade and a tank brigade. The process is in the initial phase, but should be complete by 1 December, the start of the army’s training year.
The 20th Army will need reinforcement because its most capable formations — the 2nd Taman Motorized Rifle Division, 4th Kantemir Tank Division, and 6th Tank Brigade — reportedly will become part of Russia’s reconstituted 1st Tank Army near Moscow this fall.
TASS reported that General-Major Sergey Kuzovlev will command the army. The Ukrainian Security Service alleges he commands Russian forces and local militia in the self-proclaimed Lugansk People’s Republic. Officially, he is chief of staff of the Southern MD’s 58th Army, and previously commanded the 18th Motorized Rifle Brigade in Chechnya.
Moving the 20th CAA is a reaction to a year and a half of fighting in eastern Ukraine, and an effort to enhance Kremlin options for border contingencies. Nevertheless, it’s likely to be some time before most elements of the 20th CAA are settled, manned, trained, and combat ready.