the home of online investigations

You can support the work of Bellingcat by donating through the following link:

The Avalanche that Went from Russia to Ukraine

May 31, 2015

By Askai707

Translations: Русский

Читать пост на русском языке

One of the most obvious examples of Russia’s supplying of military equipment to the Donbass can be found in the infantry fighting vehicle (BMP-2) with the inscription of “Lavina” [Avalanche] and painted-over hull number.

At the end of August 2014, “Lavina” was recorded in Staraya Stanitsa, Russa, just north of Kamensk-Shakhtinsky (coordinates of video here). “Lavina” was seen in a column of military equipment with the eloquent inscription of “За Донбасс!” [For the Donbass!] and flags of so-called Novorossiya. Army tractor haulers are carrying the equipment. Residents of Staraya Stanitsa recorded this column on video.






They also posted photos on social network sites:

lavina_4 lavina_5

(Archived here)

In September, the “Lavina” BMP-2 showed itself in Ukraine, as seen in this photo from Associated Press reporter Darko Vojinovic in Zhdanivka in the Donetsk oblast’:


In October, a video was uploaded online in which “Lavina” was recorded in a convoy of military equipment moving through Yenakiieve (coordinates of video here)

lavina_7 lavina_8 lavina_9

As seen on social network sites, separatist fighters pose in front of this BMP-2:

lavina_10 lavina_11

In 2015, the “Lavina” BMP-2 actively participated in the battles for Debaltseve. “Lavina” is repeatedly seen in Vuhlehirsk in videos shot by both separatist and Russian correspondents (coordinates of videos here).



lavina_13 lavina_14

Screenshot from this video:


Screenshot from another video:


Thus, with the help of online open source information, it is possible to verify that Russia has sent military equipment into Ukraine with the intent of the equipment’s use in ongoing hostilities.


Join the Bellingcat Mailing List:

Enter your email address to receive a weekly digest of Bellingcat posts, links to open source research articles, and more.


  1. Andrew Gilmour

    Bellingcat, thanks for your propaganda machine but we saw this propaganda about Rus tanks and military vehicles a while ago when the US reps lied to us. The US and your claims are for typical Joe/Jane who have no idea of what tanks / military vehicles operate in Russia or Ukraine and have no idea that separatists captured a lot of Ukr ammo and military vehicles.
    A very good example is here. This is a photo from one video where a tank of separatists moves in Ukraine
    The US at that time issued a very “smart” statement that such tanks are not operating in the area and hence Russia supplied them.
    However, a closer look at multiple photos of the Ukrainian events proves that the Ukrainian army widely used such tanks, for example
    It is very easy to fool the general public saying that the seps are using the Russian T-72s but the tanks are Ukrainian made and operated T-64BV which Russia has no supply of.
    Moreover, I recall that the Ukr Govt reported a while ago that “a column” of Russian T-72s/other heavy weaponry violated the border, then the Ukries changed the news that it was just 3 T-72s, and after videos from locals appeared showing clearly T-64BV the Ukries lied again saying that it were 3 Russian T-64. Unfortunately for them, all Russian stock of T-64 was scrapped years ago, and all tanks captured in Crimea were returned to Ukraine.
    Bellingcat uses the same approach, i.e. grabbing a photo and trying to prove that the Russians supply military machines to the seps. The only problem is that OSCE guys monitoring the border between Russia and Ukraine NEVER reported any movement of Rus tanks across the border.
    Try harder guys.

  2. Hopea Kone

    Yes, rebels have captured plenty of T-64s but those T-72s are from Russia, of course considering how corrupt and backwards Russia is its likely that people just took those tanks from their bases without the Russian government having a clue about whats going on.

      • Not Mark

        They do not have T-72B3s though. Do you have any thoughts about this BMP-2 in the article?

      • Hopea Kone

        And the rebels just somehow stumbled into a warehouse full of working T-72Bs in mid August? No T-72s were seen before that and suddenly the rebels had a platoon of them, and the only known Ukrainian deployment of T-72s was this March when they deployed some T-72AVs to area near Peski.

      • Milos984

        Mr.Troll, russian army has still a lot T-64 in theyr reserve bases. One is in “Kozulka (where is) 2544 th Central base of reserve tank (military unit 54630)” 🙂

    • RadarTechniker


      Its Easy to see, every tank has a serialnumber, its nice for evidence, but no Ukrainian media show this number. I know all these numers are Ukrainian Army vehicls. Its Sad that russia didnt support this guys, which are saves their houses.

      • Not Mark

        Can you please elaborate on this comment? What do you mean no Ukrainian media show this number? Are you saying ALL of the vehicles used in the conflict are indigenous to Ukraine? If so, you are sorely mistaken my friend.

  3. Not Mark

    Bellingcatadmin, same deal with these comments and any others that are no longer applicable that you come across please. It looks silly when it just has a series of nonsensical “Not Mark” comments. Thanks again!

    • Aric Toler

      Hi (not) Mark,
      I have been deleting some abusive comments, and the interface for WordPress is quite tedious and doesn’t easily allow us to see the whole thread. That is–we cannot delete with the treads visible, but instead one-by-one from a list.

      In short, if you think a comment is abusive, off-topic, or nonsensical, let it go, because it very will may be trashed 🙂

      • Not Mark

        Thank you very much for the heads up! The work you guys are doing is very important and I hope you keep up the good work. Good luck!

  4. Not Mark

    Russia cannot act like you are suggesting in the global economy that we all enjoy. If russia did as you say then they can pretty much consider themselves cut off entirely from North America and the EU. They would likely lose SWIFT access which would be devestating to their economy. THAT is way russia must participate in this “shadow war”. Anyways, do you agree that this vehicle is russian in origin?

    • RadarTechniker

      not ukrainian Cyberarmy man,

      SWIFT CANT be loose, no body will use this organisation in future 😉

      • Not Mark

        SWIFT could be forced to stop processing russian transactions. Just like any other service that could be stopped by sanctions. Losing access to SWIFT would be detrimental to the russian economy. Why would anyone stop using it in the future?

        • John

          Because in the future everyone will be using Rubles, Comrade. 😉 Okay, sorry, just had to say it. Back to an underlying issue: recently the Russians stopped a girl from traveling across the border to join Islamic State. The country was aghast at this. Why would they want to stop her but not the thousands pouring into Ukraine? As I understand it, it is illegal for any active or inactive Russian military to take up arms in a foreign country – thus making it illegal. Does anyone know the truth of this?

  5. TrollKiller

    The first video with the BMP-2 was removed from youtube, here is a mirror:

  6. Nestor

    How about US subversibe activities in Venezuela like arsonattacks on the electricity grids?. Nothing to report Belligingcat because you are an instrument( read puppy ) of the Atlantic councel


Leave a Reply

  • (will not be published)

You can support the work of Bellingcat by donating through the following link: