More evidence of Russia’s aggression against Ukraine discovered by digital sleuth as Russia keeps denying its involvement
2020/06/02 – 23:57 • WAR IN THE DONBASUkrainian volunteers of InformNapalm continue to meticulously document the facts of the Russian military presence in Ukraine, having identified thousands of soldiers and about a hundred Russian military units that fought on the Ukrainian soil against Ukrainians. Lately, InformNapalm has updated its database with new occurrences of the advanced Russian military equipment spotted by the OSCE and the Ukrainian military in the war-torn Donbas region. The volunteers have also identified a number of Russian servicemen, such as the sailors who were part of Russian invasion forces in Crimea in 2014 and paratroopers who fought against Georgia in 2008 and against Ukraine in 2014-2015.
The Russian aggression in Ukraine is well into the sixth year. At the beginning of its invasion of Crimea in February-March 2014, official Russia denied its use of military force against Ukraine in the peninsula, designating thousands of the Russian masked heavily armed soldiers in Russian green uniform without insignia who operated unmarked Russian military vehicles and equipment “self-defense units” created spontaneously by Crimean people. Later he admitted that they were Russian soldiers. However, since Russia unleashed a war in two Ukrainian easternmost oblasts of Luhansk and Donetsk in April 2014, it keeps on denying its full control of the occupied region and even the very fact of the Russian direct military involvement in the war.
Meanwhile, extensive evidence suggests otherwise: multiple types of exclusively Russian military equipment was documented in the Donbas, Russian active-duty soldiers were captured at the early stages of the war, and numerous mercenaries were identified as active-duty Russian soldiers.
Since the beginning of the Russian invasion, volunteer OSINT sleuths of the InformNapalm intelligence community have been gathering information on the involvement of the Russian active-duty soldiers, operatives, and military equipment in Russia’s aggression against Ukraine, as well as against Georgia and Syria. InformNapalm has performed more than 2,000 investigations of individual cases, mostly based on the open-source intelligent data (OSINT) that were collected from publicly available sources.
Here are the latest cases.
Russian military equipment
The war in the Donbas has been ongoing for six years now. The Russian occupation forces have been equipped not only with Soviet-designed military equipment operated by most post-Soviet countries, including Ukraine and Russia. There is extensive evidence indicating that armed formations fighting against Ukraine in the Donbas also use military hardware designed in Russia and used exclusively by the Russian armed forces and special units.
Lately, the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission (SMM) spotted three pieces of Russian-made electronic warfare systems of different types, and the Ukrainian military shot down another piece of the Russian reconnaissance drone Zastava.
Electronic warfare systems
The SMM operating in the Donbas mentioned in their report of 12 March 2020 that on 10 March the Mission spotted three pieces of various Russian electronic warfare systems, one RB-341V Leer-3, one R-934B Sinitsa, and one RB-636 Svet-KU) in a compound in the southern outskirts of Luhansk city.
Aerial image by OSCE SMM
InformNapalm has pinpointed the exact location of the military base in occupied Luhansk.
In total, at least 12 types of Russian EW stations were spotted in the Donbas:
Earlier in November and December 2019, The OSCE published photos of the R-934B and RB-636 spotted in the occupied parts of Luhansk and Donetsk oblasts.
Photo: OSCE SMM
The reconnaissance and fire adjustment UAV Zastava was previously spotted in the Donbas. For example, the Ukrainian border guards shot down the Zastava in 2015 in Luhansk Oblast and published a relevant video.
Now, in April 2020 the Joint Forces Operation (JFO) that is in charge of the Ukrainian forces operating in the Donbas reported on their Facebook page that the Ukrainian military had shot down another Zastava in the area of Svitlodarsk bulge, Donetsk Oblast and shared photos of the downed aerial vehicle.
- UAV Zastava
The Russian troops are operating at least eight types of the Russian-designed military unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV):
Soldiers and their units
InformNapalm volunteers continue identifying more of the Russian military who participated in the invasion of Crimea and in hostilities in the Donbas.
Paratroopers of the 104th Air Assault Regiment from Pskov
InformNapalm tracked down social media profiles of 19 Pskov paratroopers who had served in the 76th Airborne Division, mostly in its 104th Air Assault Regiment; 18 of them partook in the invasion of Georgia back in 2008. Eight of them are still serving in the Russian Armed Forces, and six fought in Ukraine in locally formed Russian-controlled armed formations. However, no direct evidence was found that they remained active-duty soldiers or career officers of the Pskov-based military unit or arrived as mercenaries at the time of their participation in the Russian war against Ukraine in the Donbas.
Photos from Ilovaisk, Donetsk oblast in a photo gallery of Anton Isaev (R in the right photo), a career officer of the Russian Armed Forces, published on his profile on the “Russian Facebook” vk.com
Pskov paratrooper Dmitry Starovoytov, a career serviceman of the Russian Armed Forces, with his “St. George’s Cross of the DNR,” Donetsk Oblast, 2015. Source: his vk.com
41st Brigade of Missile Boats
Russia’s 41st Brigade of Missile Boats consists of two squadrons: 166th Novorossiysk Guided Missile Corvette Squadron (166th GMCS) and 295th Sulino Missile Boat Squadron (295th MBS). And the ships of both detachments are featured in InformNapalm’s OSINT investigations as the participants in the aggression against Ukraine. Now the sleuths have discovered more facts, having identified several servicemen of the brigade who were awarded the Crimea occupation medal.
Russian sailor Oleg Yermakov’s award certificate to the medal for the occupation of Crimea
InformNapalm identified several sailors from the Russian Navy’s guided-missile corvette (GMC) Shtil who were awarded for the occupation of Crimea.
In 2014, their ship was among the vessels that blocked Ukrainian ships in the Donuzlav Bay of Crimea. And back in 2008, GMC Shtil was engaged in the Russian aggression against Georgia and later remained on duty off the coast of the Georgian region of Abkhazia, occupied by the Russians.
Vladimir Derbetov. Source vk.com
Kalmykia native Vladimir Derbetov, the commander of the GMC Shtil in 2014, received an early promotion to the captain of the 3rd rank and was awarded a Medal of Ushakov for his participation in the Crimean campaign, according to the Russian newspaper Lyudinovskiy Rabochiy.
Dmitry Mikheyev from Russia’s Tatarstan, who served as a sailor on Shtil, shared a photo of the medal for the occupation of Crimea officially called “For the Return of Crimea” and a photo of the award certificate.
Another Shtil sailor, Dmitry Doras from Stavropol, was pictured wearing the medal for the occupation of Crimea:
Dmitry Doras. Photo: vk.comAs of early June 2020, InformNapalm’s interactive database includes evidence of direct participation in hostilities of more than 2,500 individuals from 99 military units. The base also reveals 50 types of military equipment produced exclusively in Russia and used by the Russian troops. These weapons were spotted in the Ukrainian territory where they had no chance to emerge without direct Russian involvement in the conflict.