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Artillerymen of Russia’s 136th Motorized Infantry Brigade in the Donbass

November 13, 2015

By Askai707

The following is an English translation of Askai707’s Russian-language post on the presence of the 136th Motorized Infantry Brigade in eastern Ukraine in August-September 2014. The original post (in Russian) can be accessed here. English translation by Aric Toler.

At the end of August and beginning of September in 2014, Russia’s 136th Motorized Infantry Brigade (military unit 63354, Buynaksk, Dagestan) and other Russian units were involved in the hostilities near Luhansk. Evidence of the participation of T-90A tanks from this brigade has already been laid out in my previous post, “T-90 in the Donbass.” This post reviews evidence of the involvement of the howizters self-propelled artillery units of the 136th Motorized Infantry brigade in hostilities in the same area.

Until recently, there was only indirect evidence regarding the artillery units of the 136th Brigade in the fighting of the summer and fall of 2014. In September 2014, artillerymen of the 136th Motorized Infantry Brigade published photographs on social network sites of themselves in camouflaged uniforms without any military insignia. In the background of these photos were self-propelled 2S3 howitzers with painted-over identifying numbers and tactical marks:






In the beginning of 2015, photographs of medals received in December were first uploaded. Here is the medal of Vladimir Tyumentsev:

The medal of Vyacheslav Laputin:

The medal of Timur Orazov:

Once in a while we find online comments in which the servicemen of the 136th Motorized Infantry Brigade boast to their friends, not concealing their involvement in combat:

“Ilyas Shakiryanov: Brother, we really gave the Ukrops [note: derogatory term for Ukrainians] hell in Ukraine in 2014

Farit Akhmetgalin: That’s right, bro.”

Contract soldier Dmitry Kirillov of the 136th Brigade posted direct evidence onto his VKontakte page. He posted two videos and two photographs in a post, in which he signs it “The guys know, the guys get it.”


On the photos, we see eight men with automatic weapons, in camouflaged uniforms without military insignia. They are all posting on the roof of an armored vehicle:ы:


The first photograph carries the comment: “136 brigade!!!” The second has a geotag that shows that it was taken in the Krasnodon district of the Luhansk oblast. However, it is difficult to check the accuracy of the photograph’s location. On one video from the top of the turret of the self-propelled 2S3 Akatsiya artillery, destroyed Ukrainian military equipment in Novosvetlovka of the Luhansk oblast is filmed. However, the crew of the Akatsiya barely falls into the frame.

There is a much more interesting video than the first one. In this video are the same soldiers as in the photo from Kirillov’s previously discussed post, where they are on top of an armored vehicle exiting the town. It is not difficult to determine the location of the image: the southern outskirts of the village of Samsonovka in the Krasnodon district of the Luhansk oblast (six kilometers south of the location where the photographs of the T-90A tanks of the 136th Brigade were taken).


Above we can see the stretch of road that the video was taken on with the help of Google Maps.

Below is a comparison of objects in the vicinity of the video of Dmitry Kirillov with the same objects in a video and photo at the entrance into Samsonovka from the southern side. On the left part of the collage of screenshots from the Kirillov video, and on the right are screenshots of the video “Trip from Luhansk to Krasnodon and back” and a photo from the VKontakte page of Igor Komissarov.

203422_original 203571_original

Of the eight men in the photographs and videos in Samsonovka, I have found six of their VKontakte pages. One of these men remains unidentified (unnumbered in the below group photographs), and it is unclear exactly who he is and what division he’s from. There is another soldier (number 7) who appears often in photographs with his comrades from the 136th Brigade, but I have not found any of his social network accounts.

203863_original 204071_original 204540_original 204590_original 204958_original

These very same servicemen from the photographs are seen below in the barracks of the 136th Motorized Infantry Brigade base in Buynaksk:



Below is a list that matches the assigned numbers (from group photos above) with the name that each serviceman registered under on the VKontakte social network, along with an archived link to their account pages:

1 – Ivan Smirnov
2 – Ruslan Bukreyev and his second account –
3 – Arman Atkaliyev
4 – Dmitry Petrov and his second account –
5 – Kolyan Gavrilov
6 – Dmitry Kirillov
7 – Unidentified serviceman of the 136th Motorized Infantry Brigade (no pages found)

Ivan Smirnov’s VKontakte account has little information, as he has only saved a few photographs of himself in civilian clothes.

However, we often find Ivan Smirnov in the photographs of his colleagues from the 136th Motorized Infantry Brigade.

Below is a picture from the page of Dmitry Kirillov. From left to right: Ivan Smirnov, Dmiitry Kirillov, and an unidentified serviceman (number 7 on group photos). The photo has a geotag with for the Buynaksk region, and Smirnov is wearing his military uniform with insignia of the missile troops and artillery:

The below photograph with Smirnov (furthest to the right) is from the account of Dmitry Petrov (fifth from the left). Second from the right is Nikolay Gavrilov (number 5 on the group photos). The servicemen are posing in front of an 2S3 Akatsiya:

Archive / Original

Archive / Original

The below photograph with Ivan Smirnov is from the page of Nikolay Gavrilov. From left to right are the servicemen Dmitry Petrov, Ivan Smirnov, and Nikolay Gavrilov.

The below photo shows Ivan Smirnov in the foreground and was taken from the page of another soldier of the 136th Motorized Infantry Brigade, Elvert Gubaydullin. Behind Smirnov are the same soldiers who were in the video in Samsonovka: Dmitry Kirillov (first from the left), the unidentified soldier numbered 7 (second from left), Ruslan Bukreyev (first from the right), and Dmitry Petrov (second from the right).

Ruslan Bukyreyev very actively covered his military service on the VKontakte social network site, and even had two accounts. In the field for “Military service” he noted the military unit 63354–that is, the 136th Motorized Infantry Brigade.

He uploaded a photograph in April 2014 where he is in front of of a self-propelled artillery Akatsiya with the commentary “My beauty :)”

Below is a photograph of work being done on the engine-transmission compartment of an artillery unit with the tactical mark of the 136th Brigade:


Before his trip to the Ukrainian border in August 2014 , the mechanic-driver Ruslan Sergeyevich Bukreyev wrote a report with a request for a military service contract with a 3-year term. He left the commentary “I’m going to Rostov!” with the photo.

In September, photographs appear on Bukreyev’s profile where he, along with his colleagues, are in uniforms without any military insignia (1, 2, 3).

In a photograph uploaded on September 7, 2014, Ruslan Bukreyev poses in front of a road sign for the town of Prodorozhne, located at the entrance into the southern side of the village in the Krasnodon district of the Luhansk oblast:

Below is a comparison of the local objects in the village of Prodorozhe of the above photograph with the same objects in the photograph from the account of Igor Komissarov:

208907_original 208670_original

In the video at Samsonovka (three kilometers south of the village of Pridorozhne), Ruslan Bukreyev is driving the MT-LBu armored vehicle.



On one of the September photographs, we see Bukreyev inside of an armored vehicle with a colleague who is wearing a radio safety helmet with the number 743:

In the Russian army, they often register their armored vehicle inventory with their hull numbers in order to provide order and prevent theft. One of the artillery control (fire control/direction) vehicles in the 136th Brigade happens to have the number 743. A picture of this vehicle is on the pages of two servicemen who were in the Samsonovka video: Ruslan Bukreyev and Dmitry Petrov (numbers 2 and 4 in the group photos).

Photographs of hull number 743 from the accounts of other servicemen:

There is additional information from the VKontakte pages of the remaining Russian servicemen who were located in the village of Samsonovka.

Arman Atkaliyev (number 3 in the group photos) is a participant of the public group “Army, Byunaksk 136th Motorized Infantry Brigade 58 Army”

Atkaliyev has all of three photographs, and there are none of his military service. However he is in the group photos (second row, furthest to the right) that were taken from the territory of the 136th Brigade base, which are saved on his comrades’ pages (1, 2, 3, 4).

Dmitry Petrov has a more informative page. He is in the closed group called “military unit 63354.”

Below are photographs of Dmitry Petrov in Buynaksk:

Petrov in his military uniform with the insignia of the missile forces and artillery:

In photographs uploaded in September 2014, he is already in a camouflaged uniform without any military insignia (1, 2, 3, 4, 5).

Nikolay Gavrilov (number 5 in the group photos and screenshots from the Samsonovka video) can be seen below. He indicates that he served in the 136th Brigade in Buynaksk on his own VKontakte page:

Gavrilov (first from the left) is seen in photographs along with Ivan Smirnov (second from the left):

There are additional pages from Gavrilov where there are photographs from the same base territory (1, 2, 3). Additionally, there are other photographs saved from September 2014 (1, 2).

Finally, there are photographs with the unidentified soldier who was marked by number 7 in the group photos and was also in the Samsonovka video. He is in many photographs taken and uploaded by his colleagues from the 136th Motorized Infantry Brigade, and apparently he is a contract soldier in his military service.

Below is a photograph from Dmitry Petrov’s page, in which the unidentified soldier number 7 is in a red square:


Photograph from the page of Dmitry Kirillov:

Additionally, there are September photographs from Elvert Gubaydullin in which this serviceman is present (1, 2, 3).

In sum, we can say, with the help of open source information, that there is both indirect and direct evidence of the artillery and tank units of the Russian 136th Motorized Infantry Brigade in the Donbass. These units participated in military activities in the Luhansk area in August and September 2014 while active servicemen with the armed forces of the Russian Federation.


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    • Randy Dread

      One thing is for sure, Ukraine and Syria have not gone the way Bellingcat’s paymasters planned.

  1. Randy Dread

    Dude wrote:
    And nobody talks about agression against Russian lands. Merely about freeing the Ukrainan territories (Donbass and Crimea) occupied by Russian orks and their local terrorist puppets. Russian orks should be killed. Local terrorist puppets should be tried in Courts… At least that would be an ideal scenario if NATO did not chicken out… Hopefully things are going to change slowly…

    Nothing will change. Russia is a world power. Ukraine is nothing.

    Nobody is going to risk war with Russia for Ukraine. What would be the point?

    • Dude

      Randy Dread
      Nothing will change. Russia is a world power. Ukraine is nothing.
      Nobody is going to risk war with Russia for Ukraine. What would be the point?

      Eh? Nazi Germay/Hitler were a world power once. Poland/France/Belgium etc. were nothing. What was the point to risk the war?

      Do u like Hitler, Randy?

      • Dude


        We seem to be very near the bleak choice between War and Shame. My feel­ing is that we shall choose Shame, and then have War thrown in a lit­tle later on even more adverse terms than at present.

        /Winston S. Churchill, Sept. 1938/

          • Dude

            ISIS is just a bunch of scarecrows for an average joe like you, Randy.
            Real mastermibds of the workd terrorism are sitting in Kremlin and in Lubianka
            (if i’m not mistaken that’s the KGB building in Moskau?)

          • John Zenwirt

            “(if i’m not mistaken that’s the KGB building in Moskau?)”

            Yes, the Cheka had taken over what was once the All-Russian Insurance Co..

    • Dude

      Randy Dread:
      Russia is a world power

      Hehehe.. Russia’s economy is 2% of the World, or only about 10% of the US, or the EU. The only power of Russia are the old nukes!

      • Randy Dread

        Yet all the world leaders are talking to Putin.

        Nobody can ignore Russia. Everybody ignores Ukraine.

        • Dude

          Yea, they have to talk to Putler for now. They have to negotiate with terrorist who blackmails the world with his rusty nukes…

          • Randy Dread

            what nonsense.

            rebuild your own country and stop whining about Russia.

            You Ukrainians are such a bunch of deadbeats.

  2. Dude

    Rebuilding Ukraine will be much easier for Ukrainian, when
    the world powers will force terroRussia to stop waging war against Ukraine
    and to return some 10% of Ukrainian territory, that it invaded by now

    After all, both US and UK are/were signatories of the Budapest Memorandum.

  3. Dude

    John Zenwirt – November 19th, 2015
    >>“(if i’m not mistaken that’s the KGB building in Moskau?)”

    >Yes, the Cheka had taken over what was once the All-Russian Insurance Co..

    Ironic, is not it?

  4. John Zenwirt

    Who might you think does Putin’s hits, like Nemtsov…?

    “Putin’s Angels: Inside Russia’s Most Infamous Motorcycle Club”

    “The motorcycle club’s leader has transformed a biker gang into a self-styled vanguard of patriotic holy warriors, reportedly 5,000 strong, with close ties to the Kremlin.”

    “In 2013, Putin awarded the Night Wolves’ leader an Order of Honor for his “patriotic education of youth.”

    “Putin turned the club into “auxiliaries of the state” as part of a broader push to turn potential adversaries into compliant allies.”

    • boggled

      Some really poor audio editing in there stranger.
      Most of the lip movements do not match up with what was said.
      Someone over dubbed other voices and other statements into what was said.

      Gotta admit though, it is better then most Kremlin sponsored media like LieNews and RT.

      Still a piss poor audio job with fake soldiers and also faked voices and a blatantly false narrative.

      Fare thee well

      • stranger

        One can claim those were fake solders, actors and they meant different things. When it is told from the other side, the answer is usually ‘you are in denial’, ‘you are brain wa’shed by Pu’tin propaga’nda’, and everything finally is ended up with ‘what side are you at’ and finally personal insults.

        I don’t like this video for the same reason I don’t like any propag’anda.

        Nevertheless there are thousands of other videos on youtube showing there no unity and single interpretation of what is going on, so simple clichés don’t work.

        • boggled

          A budget of billions of rubles to promote and defend the Kremlin’s narrative will create a lot of YouTube videos, especially when they get more viewers and are less regulated then journalist interpretations of events.
          RT can be sued and cut off the air a lot easier than a YouTube video produce by the same people.
          The Kremlin uses all the tools it can to promote and defend the Kremlin.
          As opposed to the actual facts, they are the Kremlin’s interpretation of the facts usually.

          Fare thee well

          • stranger

            No, I mean real videos by people from various sides which cannot be faked, and also interviews with politicians who make decisions.

            BTW a lot of money is spent on information campaigns from the other side. How Radio Liberty (Radio Free Europe) is better than Russia Today? For me Radio Liberty is more disgusting, because of their usual low-quality psychologically-manipulative content in the spirit of NLP.

      • stranger

        Btw where in the video lip movements don’t match to what was said? May be the very last phrase, or the miner with bad diction asking to move to Kiev, I would doubt, the other places quite match.
        Balaklavas – is what Ukrainian army wears all the time, but not rebels – why, who they are afraid of?
        The video is a compilation, that is right, but one can easily find people in Ukraine who honestly think and tell such things.

        • boggled

          Your balaklavas?

          RLRFE, have two opposing messages.
          To listeners you have the old Soviet cold war hawk system, or a system of the Liberty.
          You have your choice.
          Many chose RT, because they must believe in the idol in the Kremlin who has been sanctioned by the ROC or various Mosques and because they are predominantly spoken in Russian.
          It is more difficult to listen to RLRFE for Russian citizens, because the message exposes the Kremlin is still up to its KGB practices.
          They hate being called a terrorist state, an organized crime haven, because that is what they let it become.
          After they had fought for the freedom and were supportive of the change the fall of Communism.
          They all know what RLRFE says is true, but they do not want to confront it.
          Yes, I admit some of the articles go overboard.
          I have not made it secret I have certain oppositions of certain ‘civil rights’ activists and what they preach.
          Label them Progressives, Socialists, Libertarians, or Liberalist, Democrat there messages are pretty much the same, and I do oppose much of their ideology.
          However, those are generally the one’s that are busy with activism and enforcing change.
          The bringing down of fascism and Communism was a good thing.
          I hope when the Capitalists get too big for their britches they knock them down a few pegs and I will be working with them in the trenches.
          RLRFE overall promotes a good message and forces RF citizens to look into the mirror and reflect on whether or not the like the person they see and the community that surrounds them.

          Polonium Tea? The Chechen Wars? Afghanistan? Beslan? Human Rights? Hospitals without Hot Water? villages 50 km outside of Moscow without any utilities? Eastern Russia becoming full of Ghost Towns while vova has his 23 dachas – all worth in the billion dollar range, drugs, poor health, having to pay a bribe at least weekly (yes, I think it was worse inside Ukraine under yanukothief), 300+ journalists killed since the fall of CCCP that were investigating the Kremlin or government policies, the little green men of Crimea, the truth about DNR human rights abuses against even International orgs, what is happening to the peaceful Tatars again, etc.
          Russians act as if we are attacking them regularly by pointing out flaws, but really we are trying to help their nation from becoming MadMax land and hoping the can correct it before it becomes more of a failed state, like Ukraine did under yanukothief, and Syria under ASSad and Iraq under Saddam.
          The world does not want that to happen.
          Could you imagine what would happen to Russians themselves if they had a Saddam, a die hard admitted Stalinist, in control?
          What he would do to Russian citizens if someone like that (Chechnya leader ring a bell?) had nuclear weapons to combat inside the country.
          vova was bad enough with telling his military to fly over the English Channel and begin arming nuclear weapons multiple times and his polonium.
          Can you imagine the threat if another Stalin got in control of RF?
          A Hitler? (with half of the world’s fascists groups members inside RF, a possibility)
          They are both a threat to humanity, and a threat to RF.
          That is why the message is so loud, and sometimes is claimed to be propaganda.
          There are signals that vova and the Kremlin have put out that do not look good for Russia, only for those inside Moscow and those that idolize the Kremlin leader.
          Scary times my friend, and all the world can do is inform, it is not Russophobia, it is a fear of the Kremlin becoming run by a mad man like the North Korean leader, and no one will stop him.
          It is fear for the RF population, it is not a fear of them.
          It is not a condemnation of RF population, but telling them to take their head out of the sand, look around, look into the mirror, and do something.
          The rewards of liberty are great and prosperous for many.

          The people that leave RF regularly know it, the intelligentsia know it, the world knows it.
          vova and the elite want domination, and they demand respect for stealing from Russian citizens.
          Should RF citizens give them it? Are the deserving in the Kremlin?
          Do RF citizens feel it has gotten to the point of no hope, so they enjoy being dominated like slaves?
          Scary times, and Kremlin media continuously promoted the Party Line with lies, that even an dufus could recognize.

          Then you have China, a sleeping giant.
          Do you think they will not in the name of national security take over RF if they feel a threat there?
          How does RF citizens feel about a nation equivalent in size that has 2 billion people versus RF 150 million?
          A domination that would make a war without nukes be like RF attacking New Zealand.
          Thank goodness China is not imperialistic at this moment.

          But if they became that way, wouldn’t RF citizens like the global community to back them up?
          An ally?
          Getting rid of the Golden Horde that holds power in Moscow, would be a good thing for all.
          All the Kremlin and Kremlin sponsored media and vova’s polocies is doing is pushing that gap of ever being allies wider and wider.
          Denial of reality will not keep reality from moving on.
          Denial of Kremlin’s flawed policies and not rising up against them is not going to bring RF citizens any more security, or their children.

          All I an others can do is show you a safe stream of water to drink from.
          We cannot make you drink.
          It will be terrible if RF gets so bad, they have to beg for help like Syrian people did.
          The West can only do so much, but it is getting to that point where the world see their is no value saving Russians if China invades.
          All of these are concerns, and many more in the ‘propaganda’ as you call it of RLRFE.
          Peace to you.
          Look both inward and outward, and make your decision what you see you would like for RF.
          Good Luck, we may not be there when RF citizens cry wolf.
          We may be, that is our nature, but eventually we do recognize we can do no help to those that refuse it.

          Fare thee well

          • stranger

            When we are talking about RLRFE aka Radio Liberty there are two versions of their web site – English and Russian. I refer to the Russian version which is strictly different by topics, authors, tone of articles. The Russian version has no English translation, so one should use google translate. I believe you read Russian.
            Your message is inspiring, but how to say, I’m not sure you have a correct focus of what is going on in Russia and what people actually concern.
            Putin is not equal to Russia, undoubtedly. On the other hand the Ukrainian way of revolution and the following chaos, you propose, the way being supported by Khodorkovsky, would be much more harmful for the country. We saw that already in 90 th.

          • stranger

            Concerning RLRFE, that used to be a tool of a Cold War, it may have played a good role or not depending how you see it.

            I’m referring to their current Russian auditory targeted web site, which is very active now. That is a Czeck Praha based Russian subdivision. Their bosses reportedly don’t speak Russian. May that’s why they are allowed to write such weird things sometimes – the bosses don’t understand that anyway, if not the language, then mentality.

            Propaganda – is not everything that you don’t like to hear, that is just a technique, a way to mispresent, distort, omit information, psychologically manipulate readers.

            In that regards a good strategy would be to pick up facts and filter out assumptions and ‘conclusions’. And by any means stay away from ‘opinions’ and ‘analytics’ columns.

            RT frequently gives interviews, statements of politicians, omitted by main stream media. Definitely something missing can be found at RLRFE web.

            When one is tired from filtering out ideological garbage, one may switch to less ideologically charged news resources, ideally from both sides. I personally like plus their ukr version.

    • John Zenwirt

      That’s truely a despicable video, very unfortunate that some Soviets still think this way…

      • stranger

        That is also the truth, not all the truth, but also, the other side. That may be disturbing for those, who got used to black-and-white thinking, simplified models of reality. The video is manipulative, though, I agree.


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