Early this week Ukraine’s Dnipro Battalion produced a rather unusual video on their YouTube channel. The battalion has released a number of videos containing drone footage of Russian-backed separatists positions in the past, but this new video contained something unusual:
The video opens with the question “Where does the terrorist Givi celebrate his birthday?”, “Givi” being Mikhail Sergeyevich Tolstykh, commander of the pro-Russian “Somalia Battalion”. The video then shows a Google Maps satellite image of Donetsk, showing the distance of the area filmed in the drone footage that follows from the frontline down of Avdeevka, 7.29km away. The video then highlights a location in the drone footage where a number of T-72 tanks are parked, as well as provided the address and co-ordinates of the location featured (Donetsk, street Zlitna 11A, 48.062107, 37.759581)The video then cuts to footage filmed by a pro-Russian blogger showing separatists troops celebrating Givi’s birthday party on July 19th, and uses Google Street View to confirm the location the video was filmed by comparing buildings in the footage filmed by the blogger to buildings visible in the Google Street View imagery:
The video then goes on to describe the rest of the area, criticises the separatists for flautning the “Minsk protocol”, and various other statements. What’s interesting about this video is it combines drone footage with open source material from tools such as Google Maps and Google Street View, and video filmed by a blogger. They also include the co-ordinates of the sites they are showing that makes it easy for anyone interested to check what they are showing is correct. This is a very unusual combination of open source material in a video produced from a military unit, but shows that groups in Ukraine might be coming around to the idea that by combining non-classified material with open source material it’s possible to present a much more stronger case that the information being presented is reliable.