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Did Russia Send a New Batch of Military Vehicles to Separatists Controlled Ukraine?

January 3, 2015

By Eliot Higgins

On December 31st 2014 the following video was shared on various social media sites, showing what was claimed to be Russian military units inside Ukraine.

Of particular interest were BPM-97 mine-resistant, ambush protected (MRAP) vehicles that feature briefly in the video.


These Russian vehicles are not used by the Ukrainian military, and their presence inside Ukraine would be compelling evidence Russia has sent military vehicles into Ukraine. However, it has been impossible to find the position this video was filmed, so it has not been possible to confirm this was filmed inside Ukraine.

Yesterday a new image of a BPM-97 reportedly inside Ukraine was posted online by various sources.

Unlike the earlier video it has been possible to find the exact location the photograph was taken inside separatist controlled Luhansk in Eastern Ukraine. Twitter user @murderotica_ established the location of the vehicle in Luhansk.

The below image from Yandax Maps shows the same location featured in the new photograph, with the two large structures highlighted below visible in both images.

MRAP 2Smaller details also match, for example the signs on the concrete lamp post between the two structures.


Another example is the style of lamp post and cabling in the area is also a match.


Based on this and other details it does appear that the photograph showing the BPM-97 can be precisely located in Luhansk, as per the geolocation by @murderotica_ and considering Ukraine does not have BPM-97s it seems extremely likely this is a Russian military vehicle inside Ukraine, adding to evidence that Russia is providing a variety of military vehicles to Ukrainian armed groups.

Eliot Higgins

Eliot Higgins is the founder of Bellingcat and the Brown Moses Blog. Eliot focuses on the weapons used in the conflict in Syria, and open source investigation tools and techniques.

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  1. James V Canchela

    “Russian Bear” and “Much Ado About Nothing” you really show who is the warmongers and fascist. Look in the mirror and you will see those words apply to you.

    • Mikhail

      You do good work Catherine Fitzpatrick, thanks for the update and the URL for interpreter magazine. It seems that Russian news is not under any restrictions here; quite open in fact. One wonders though if the acquisition of these border patrol vehicles would make much difference to the defence of the south east. I am finding this all very interesting. Wish I had a bit more time on my hands to devote to this study but uni is about to begin on the first semester of the year and I am a 71 year old student.

  2. олег

    Фото разные и это легко заметить, раздули тему из поддельных фотографий!!!

  3. RickyMartin

    Is it me or has this place now become the haven for many of those who used to inhabit the la russophobe blog who like to make the hilarious amalgamations like “putler” to show how clever and witty they are? Shame really as there are some intelligent people here.

  4. Frank


    The buildings and smaller details on comparative pics DON’T MATCH. The buildings in the background of the tanks are much bigger than those on the first picture, that are rather small sheds.

    The trees are not the same, and cables coming from the poles aren’t placed the same way.

    This stuff is highly inconclusive.

    Furthermore, for all the weapons shipped by the US and UK and Israel to jihadists in the Middle-East, Yugoslavia and North Africa, it’s pretty hypocrite and stupid to make a scandal out of this.

  5. Horris The Boggle

    No matter the pro’s or con’s Russia put it troops in the Ukraine. Crimea ring a bell ? little green men that Putin said on t-v after the fact they were russian soilder ! thats called a invasion . Now weather you like it or not Russian people believe the USA and European countries are responsible for Ukraine and call us Nazi and Fascists why do we not just turn off S-W-I-T-C-H, get rid of there gas and stop trading with and lets see who will begging who after 3 monthes


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