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Russia Ante Portas: Updated Satellite Imagery Shows Border Crossings and Artillery Sites

June 15, 2016

By Bellingcat Investigation Team

Translations: Русский

Google Earth has recently added updated satellite imagery at the Russia-Ukraine border for August 26, 2014, near the height of Russian intervention in Ukraine. These satellite images show the deployment of Russian military vehicles and artillery positions, along with newly-created paths into Ukraine. The timing of this satellite imagery coincides with a major surge in Russian activities in Ukraine near the border crossing points, including the sightings of Russian servicemen in a village about a dozen kilometers from the border crossing point.

The orange line marks cross-border vehicle path. The yellow line marks the Russia-Ukraine border, according to Google Earth. The line along the treeline is the more accurate representation of the border.

Figure 1: The orange line marks cross-border vehicle paths which did not exist in satellite imagery from August 23, 2014. The yellow line marks the Russia-Ukraine border, according to Google Earth. The line along the treeline is the more accurate representation of the border.

Figure 1, seen above, shows vehicles at the border location of 47.608336, 38.350813, near the Ukrainian villages of Kumachove and Ulyanivs’ke. The worn path from Russia into Ukraine, seen as an orange line above, did not exist in the August 23, 2014 satellite imagery on Digital Globe (see Figure 35 here), indicating that it was created between the afternoon of August 23 and 26. Reuters reported on August 26, 2014 that dozens of “unidentified, heavily-armed strangers with Russian accents” appeared in a village 14 kilometers northwest of this border crossing point. These men, wearing white bands on their arms and legs, brought military ration packs with them and military equipment with their identifying marks painted over with white circles, and were unfamiliar with the area. Soldiers with white bands on their arms/legs and Russian tanks with obfuscating marks are long-established symbols of Russian intervention, best described by Askai707 in his research. The white circle was used specifically by Russia’s 6th Tank Battalion. An example of two findings from Askai are seen below in figures 2 and 3. In the first, Askai707 demonstrates how Russian servicemen were located in Ukraine near a village that was captured by Russian/separatist forces on August 30, 2014. In the second, he shows how Russian tanks were painted with white circles in Russia before being deployed into Ukraine, where they were photographed on the battlefield.


Figure 2: Russian servicemen Anton Dmitriyev and Roman Gromov at the Ukrainian village of Chervonosilske. For more information on these soldiers and their military activities in Ukraine, see “Russia’s 6th Tank Brigade: The Dead, the Captured, and the Destroyed Tanks (Pt. 2)


Left: Russian tanks on the battlefield in eastern Ukraine, with white circles. Right: Russian tanks at a military base of the 6th Tank Brigade, with white circles at the same location.

Figure 3: Left: Destroyed Russian tank filmed in September 2014 on a battlefield south of Ilovaisk, Ukraine, with white circles.
Right: Russian tanks in September 2014 in Russia, with servicemen of the 6th Tank Brigade, with white circles at the same location. For more information, see aforementioned article on the 6th Tank Brigade.

Along with this incident, ten Russian paratroopers were captured in Dzerkal’ne, approximately 21 kilometers north of the border crossing in Figure 1, at about the same time as the Reuters report and the creation of these border-crossing paths. The ten Russian servicemen claimed that they got “lost” while on patrols.

Military vehicles inside of Russia near a border crossing point.

Figure 4: Military vehicles inside of Russia near a border crossing point.

Above, Figure 4 shows Russian military camps near the border, within Russia on August 26, 2014. These locations were described by Maria Tsvetkova in a Reuters article from August 28, 2014, in which soldiers had white bands around their arms and legs, and had military vehicles adorned with white circles. One soldier stated that he comes from Ivanovo, the home of Russia’s 98th Guards Airborne Division. On the left, at 47.594456, 38.401101, a camp is set up with tents, vehicles, and likely the medical camp that Tsvetkova described on August 28, 2014. The middle location, at 47.603747, 38.388093, and right location, at 47.599805, 38.378667, show the deployment of additional military vehicles closer to the border crossing.

Figure 7:

Figure 5: Military vehicles on the move near the Russia-Ukraine border.

Part of Figure 4 is seen above, with an array of military vehicles moving towards the Russia-Ukraine border.

Figure 5: A truck on the move towards a border crossing point.

Figure 6: A vehicle inside Ukraine on the move towards Russia on the path crossing the border.

The above satellite imagery shows a vehicle using the same border path in Figure 1, but inside of Ukraine. This imagery further illustrates how this border crossing path was heavily utilized after August 23, 2014, with this vehicle returning from near an active combat zone.

Figure 6:

Figure 7: Newly-created border crossing point at the Russia-Ukraine border.

Newly-updated imagery shows how the border crossing path from the September 14, 2014 imagery was created. This path, located at 47.608262, 38.350483, did not not exist in mid-July 2014, was in the process of being created in late August, and was clearly visible by mid-September.

Along with a view at border traffic, the updated August 26, 2014 satellite imagery shows the deployment of Russian artillery systems pointed towards Ukraine, and the aftermath of artillery strikes with burned earth. The coordinates of each of the sites are visible on the bottom of each screen shot.

Figure 8:

Figure 8: Artillery positions located 2.6 kilometers from the Ukrainian border, pointing northwest.

Figure 9:

Figure 9: Artillery positions located 2.4 kilometers from the Ukrainian border pointing northwest.

Figure 10:

Figure 10: Artillery positions and military equipment (by the treeline) located 1 kilometer from the Ukrainian border.

Figure 11:

Figure 11: MRLS positions located approximately 5.8 kilometers from the Ukrainian border, pointing west and northwest.

Figure 12:

Figure 12: Artillery positions located 1.4 kilometers from the Ukrainian border, pointing north-northwest.

Figure 13:

Figure 13: Artillery positions located 1.1 kilometers from the Ukrainian border, pointing north-northwest.


Figure 14:

Figure 14: Site of outgoing fire pointing northwest without MRLS equipment present, located 5.5 kilometers from the Ukrainian border.


Figure 15:

Figure 15: Site of outgoing fire pointing northwest without artillery equipment present, located 3.3 kilometers from the Ukrainian border.

Finally, a map of all of these artillery positions (red) and sites mentioned regarding border crossings (green) can be shown on a single map:

Artillery firing sites in red, and sites described in border crossings section of this post in green.

Figure 16: Artillery firing sites in red, and sites described in border crossings section of this post in green.

The August 26, 2014 satellite imagery from Google Earth allows us a closer view into the Russian invasion of Ukraine from two summers ago. The border crossing paths revealed in this imagery shows us the paths used for Russian and “separatist” offenses in late August, and possibly the paths used by the Russian soldiers described in August reports from Reuters. Previous Bellingcat research into “Russia’s Paths to War” can be found here. Additionally, the artillery firing positions give further proof of Russian shelling of Ukrainian positions from the summer of 2014, as described in a previous Bellingcat report.

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  1. Clement Townsend

    First rule of strategic planning is to clearly define your objective.

    I speed-read the above looking for new and relevant information regarding the downing of MH17 but failed to find any.

    So my question is, what was your objective in carrying out this well-researched article?

    Second question is what did it achieve.

    Thank you.

    • Clement Townsend

      I’m going to answer my own question. It has nothing to do with MH17!

      So I assume your objective is to prove (official) Russian military movements into Ukraine.

      Apart from the official Kremlin line (which you’ll call lies but is normal diplomatic conflict denial), does anybody who values the lives of those who voted for self-determination really care?

        • Geo

          Ha, you made a reference to a piece of analysis that claims all different INDEPENDENT sources were fakes. Just a perfect piece for Kiselev TV about the world’s coordinated conspiracy against peace-loving mother Russia. The fact this “analysis” doesn’t pass detailed scrutiny is not of interest to you. You just needed to leave a link to propaganda/conspiracy forum. Just like you people say – “my Escanders are laughing at this”!

          • dim

            So you dont care about the physical dimensions of BUK, truck etc in al these COPYPASTES?
            Or maybe you can disprove statements on a strong basis?
            Or maybe just close your eyes and ears like child repeating “propaganda, propaganda! I dont see I dont hear”

          • dim

            Show me the right dimensions, Geo.
            (if you are not a little ukrainian troll)

    • Aric Toler

      Dearrdy Clement,

      It has nothing to do with MH17.

      It is further evidence to supplement previous research posted on Bellingcat, including Paths of War, the artillery report, the translation of Askai’s work, and so on. In other words: more evidence to throw on an already huge pile proving Russian involvement in Ukraine. Including artillery strikes carried out by Russian servicemen, on Russian territory, against Ukrainian military positions.

      • Clement Townsend

        But why?
        I still don’t understand.

        Don’t you have any trust in US satellite surveillance, SBU intelligence, embedded agents & local reporting etc…?

        Without Russian help, Poroshenko’s ATO would have massacred every man, woman & child who voted for self-determination.

        Or am I missing something?

        • Aric Toler

          The theme of the site is research based on open source information. This is open source information, with interesting findings that reveal military activities from about two years ago. It’s not that complicated. Take your talk of “massacre” and your feigned confusion elsewhere.

          • Reyter

            I have a questions too.
            1. What is your main source of funding?
            2. Does anyone take you morons seriously?
            I know you will say and possibly even think the “free press” does but it’s obvious even to them you would be a laughing stock to them if you strayed from the official narrative.

          • stranger

            And I wonder why 2 year old events are published now? This month EU is discussing the prolongation of sanctions against Russia. Before all serious discussions in Europe, the fire on the border of rebels held territories is intensified. Ukraine claims Minsk doesn’t work and blames not even rebels but usually Russia directly. I don’t exclude that the fire is intensified intentionally and by Ukrainian side in order to influence the discussions. It may look like the information attacks are also coordinated.

          • Geo

            You have been told that this research is published right after new satellite imagery became available from Google Earth, providing further unequivocal evidence of Russian military aggression against Ukraine and uncovering lies of Russian president and government.

            If you can’t read, or if you don’t have anything substantive to argue about, then please stop writing. Take your trolling “all world is conspiring and fabricating evidence against Russia” nonsense back to Russian hate forums.

            Just as suggestion – you can go there to discuss “unfair” bans on Russian athletes for government sponsored doping, how EU news media “fabricated” evidence against peace loving Russian soccer fans who aren’t clearly well prepared thugs, or talk about witnesses who saw the Ukrainian fighter jet (or even better – American invisible attack saucer disguised as Ukrainian fighter plane) downing MH17 with machine gun fire while dropping the leaflets with Pravyj Sector from pilot cabin. But please do this elsewhere and don’t insult intelligence of people here.

          • stranger

            I’ve reread the comments by Aric above and found nothing about those 2 year old pictures appeared on Google only now. Where did you get it?

            I would recommend you to abide by at least minimum set of good manners when talking to people on the forum.

          • Geo

            First sentence of the article: “Google Earth recently added updated imagery at Russia-Ukraine border…”. If you couldn’t find that, I am really sorry

          • stranger

            Here is the background from the recent news. Today the sanctions against Crimea were extended.
            Last time the article on bombing hospitals by Russian aviation in Syria appeared synchronously with the attempts to stop Syrian and Russian offence to Aleppo.
            I don’t justify Russia… but
            Look broader…

          • Geo

            You are horribly missing a point! Russia is being sanctioned for ITS ACTIONS validated by FACTS ON THE GROUND. There’s no need to look anywhere “broader” – it’s of your own making. Instead of trying to find conspiracies, you should be holding your officials accountable. You should be the ones uncovering their crimes, not Bellingcat. YOU should be demonstrating against your corrupt lying government that is running your country into ground and turning people into zombies.

          • stranger

            …I don’t justify Russia, but… watch the hands when вам морочат голову, извините. Regardless of very cool and impressive analysis from the technical prospective. Look broader, думайте своей головой…

          • Geo

            Морочат голову? This is your response to evidence of invasion and killings of neighboring country’s civilians and military you people call “brothers”? Man, you are really lost!

            You don’t justify WHAT? You have been denying the FACTS and evidence for years. You closed your eyes on atrocities committed by your president and his clique. You brought this monster to power, you will continue to vote for him and suppress any opposition to his rule, while he continue to syphon the money from your state into his personal accounts in Panama and elsewhere. You think you do this because you love your country? Oh no. It’s because you completely and utterly lost all humanity and decency. So, please, don’t be surprised and upset of the sanctions. Денег нет, но вы там держитесь, всего вам доброго, хорошего настроения!!!

          • stranger

            Really, recently I started to doubt what side real zombies are. I’ve came to a conclusion that real people usually make quite reasonable statements regardless of what side they are at. That are trolls who look like zombies.

            The sanctions today were extended specifically against Crimea, the sanctions on Russia will be extended next week. The sanctions against Crimea are more global and harsh, any business with Crimeans is prohibited.

            Why do you think people of Crimea are punished, are they guilty they were annexed? Or may be they welcomed russia and that’s why are guilty?

          • Geo

            Spare me this nonsense. You should have known there are consequences to annexation. It’s occupied territory and by laws the occupiers must pay for all it’s bills. Crimea didn’t learn from Abkhazia and Ossetia, just like they couldn’t differentiate the propaganda from truth. Didn’t you guys in Crimea were calling Europe and USA evil and were so afraid Ukraine wanted to move closer to them? Weren’t you saying that you have been feeding Ukraine for years? Oh, wait, are Crimeans demonstrating against the occupiers? Ooops…

          • stranger

            Geo, you understand Russian and you are attacking people personally, so you must be from Ukraine?
            It is understood you blame the people of Crimea in sympathy to Russia, and think they deserve the sanctions.
            But then how do you want them to return to Ukraine after such a welcome?

          • Geo

            I blame Russian government. And people who support it. I blamed Ukrainians that elected Yanukovich, and trust me, I blame Ukrainians for the corruption that spread through the society. But it’s not the point. On this forum and on this article we discuss specific OSINT analysis produced by Bellingcat. Period. All other blames and trolling should be moved elsewhere. You are constantly trying to change the discussion to a different topic. This is a well known tactic of Russian troll armies. Please stop, even if you do this not intentionally. Look, there are conspiracy theorists who tried proving that 911 never happened, or that Boston Marathon bombing was made up movie. If you are from that crowd, i can’t help you.

          • stranger

            Geo, this site is not about technical subjects, it’s about politics. Commenters including yourself are discussing politics here.

            When you are shown a small fragment of a picture and all fragments are preselected to justify one side, you need to be able to see the entire picture.

            Please, unless you officially represent this site, don’t tell me please what to do. I usually don’t appreciate conspiracies and am open to any arguments except switching to discussing personalities.

        • Account

          “Without Russian help, Poroshenko’s ATO would have massacred every man, woman & child who voted for self-determination.”
          Whoa, that’s top delusional.
          FYI: Ukrainian forces had liberated Sloviansk, Kramatorsk, Artemivsk, Severodonetsk, Lisichansk and Mariupol. Those cities alone are ~1,000,000 population and I strongly believe there were some who ‘voted for self-determination’.
          Do you have any reliable info about casualties among those?

        • Dave

          “Without Russian help, Poroshenko’s ATO would have massacred every man, woman & child who voted for self-determination.”
          You don’t seem too bright but, nonetheless, please try to explain why Poroshenko has not “massacred every man, woman & child who voted for self-determination.” in the territories that the Ukrainian military liberated from the Russian terrorists??? More than half of Donetsk and Lugansk oblasts were liberated from the Russian terrorists and are now, once again, happily living under Ukrainian authority. NO ONE has been massacred. The same can not be said about those areas which are under Russian occupation, including the Crimea where Crimean Tatars and Ukrainians are kidnapped and found dead on a daily basis. But the situation in the Russian-occupied Donbas is far worse where extra-judicial killings and imprisonments are common. Maybe grow a brain before writing such ignorant garbage?

          • dim

            “The same can not be said about those areas which are under Russian occupation, including the Crimea where Crimean Tatars and Ukrainians are kidnapped and found dead on a daily basis”
            Stop right there. How you khow that?
            Here is an article.
            It is not of russian media who tell lies, it is of ukrainian media who tell truth.
            The title:
            During occupation period Russia imprisoned 7 crimean tatars

            (period is from march 2014 till article date – october 2015 – 1.5 years at all)
            Does it look like Mass Repression ? Is it a daily basis?

            Why are you sure that you know exact truth and the opposing position is lie?

          • Dave

            Dear Dim(wit),
            Nice try to twist the truth about what is happening in the Russian occupied Crimea and Donbas. I didn’t say that Crimean Tatars and Ukrainians were “arrested” on a daily basis, though there have also been any arrests since the the October 2015 article that you cite. I said they were “kidnapped and found dead on a daily basis”. Here is a very good independent human rights site which has a great deal about Russia’s crimes in Ukraine. But there is a great deal of other information about Russia’s crimes all over the internet. Only a complete ignoramus wouldn’t notice. Even Russian trolls like you know what the truth is though it’s not your job to let others know about RUssian crimes but rather deflect from these crimes. Trolls like you should be arrested and imprisoned for your spreading of lies in support of the Putin regime which has killed tens of thousands of Russians, Chechens, Ukrainians and Syrians. That day will come, just like it did for the propagandists and other criminals of the Nazi regime.

          • dim

            Why the ukrainian news website I cited keep silence on account of “kidnapped and found dead” and tells only about “arrested”
            Do you think arrest is not the way russians go?
            So let me know – how many are “kidnapped and found dead” ?
            About 1000 (that means daily basis)?

            Dont give links to main page – give me link to those numbers.
            Or maybe photos of “found dead” in Crimea.

            “Trolls like you should be arrested and imprisoned for your spreading of lies”
            I have my point of vision.
            Dont you let have it?

            How is it called in your country – FREEDOM of EXPRESSION?
            Do you know anything about freedom?

            Or how many people you gonna imprison?

        • Geo

          Did you just knowledge that Russian Army performed full-scale invasion of its neighbor based on propaganda fake made up message? Did you forget the talking points at home. like “ih tam netu” (“they are not there”) and “shahtery i traktoristy” (“miners and tractor drivers”) and “if it was Russian Army – they would have been in Kiev in 2 hours”???

          Oh, and has ATO “massacred” people in Slovyansk, Mariupol, etc.? We know civilians massacred by Russian artillery in Mariupol. We know >10K people killed by Russian army in Ukraine and >2M displaced. We know >290 innocent civilians on MH17 downed by Russian crew from Russian BUK weapons system. Those are facts. Everything else is “would have happened” from Russian propaganda to justify invasion of a sovereign country (which Russia denied of course).

          • dim

            Almost all of 2M displaced escaped to Russia (who killed 10K of them according to your sources). Why?

            “We know >290 innocent civilians on MH17 downed by Russian crew from Russian BUK weapons system. Those are facts.”
            You can treat Bellingcat activities in different ways, but it is a thankless task to trust this group’s experts or others like them because at this stage they have no reliable or un-disproved materials.

          • Geo

            Dim – came to Russia? 2M? Did you here that on Kiselev TV? You trolls are hilarious

        • Nadia Lyakh

          My relatives live in Lisichansk. They voted in a referendum May 11, 2014.

          Ukrainian army freed Lisichansk from the militants of Luhansk People’s Republic.
          Now my family are VERY afraid of the return of the LPR.

          (I translated my comment via Google.Translate.
          Excuse me).

          • stranger

            Nadia, please tell us more what is going on from the prospective of people living in Donbas?
            Надежда, расскажите больше как местные люди это воспринимают. Можно по русски если сложно сразу на англ, мы, ну некоторые, понимаем или поможем перевести.
            Because anybody can claim to be local and it is difficult to distinguish real people from trolls.
            Потому что куча троллей здесь и сразу не поймешь кто есть кто. И если Вы говорите что знаете местных людей с Донбасса, Вы просто должны рассказать больше и не в общих словах, пожалуйста. Это правда будет интересно. Если Вы не тролль конечно.

          • Geo

            Yes, and more stories about распятых мальчиков, we didn’t get enough of those on Russian TV.

          • Geo

            You can thank your GRU guys for starting the conflict, Girkin-Strelkov, and his men. And read about civilian casualties BEFORE ATO had started. Or should I post videos of “peaceful” Donetsk crowd killing proUkrainian demonstrators? Or perhaps mass civilian casualties from MLRS fire like attack on Mariupol?

            And if you want to compare… Should I post a link on number of civilian casualties and atrocities in Chechnya, or you can Google?

          • stranger

            I will be very disappointed if Nadia appears to be a troll, because the last name looks a little bit suspicions, as if it is hinting something. i’ll apologize if i’m wrong.

          • stranger

            Nadia is troll… unfortunately… the same as Geo… I have no idea where are all those trolls coming from… Definitely not from Olgino

          • stranger

            I appologize, Nadia has answered in the Russian branch. I’m taking my words back.
            Geo is still a troll, gods know where from, and several others too.

        • Nadia Lyakh

          Russia – well done!
          Russia defends Russian-speaking people in the Donbas.
          But why Putin says, “They are not there?” = “Их там нет”?

          • stranger

            I believe there is a more important question, how to stop it now. What is going to be if Russia closes the border and withdraws support now? The besiege, the military operation of Ukraine to swipe away the remnants of rebels and prison all their supported from locals, the intensification of war, how many civilians are going to die and for what idea?
            Should Ukraine instead according to Minsk grant a large autonomy to Donbas and amnesty to rebels and receive the area appealing to Russia and representatives of the pro-Russian Donbas in parliament, possibly able to mess and blockade future political decisions, or may be they will claim sooner or later to join Russia instead, plus the possible separatism in the other areas of the country?
            If you are from Donbas or your relatives are, how do they see the way out of that clinch?

          • Andrea

            Why do you think this is going to happen?
            If russia retreats what they have never sent 😉 … then kiev can’t do what they want: they signed minsk agreement… if they broke those agreements they’ll lose international support… and without support from west, with hatred from east…what do you think they can do ?

          • stranger

            They don’t implement Minsk now neither is cease fire nor in a political part which is supposed to find a compromise with rebels. The political part would hardly pass through parliament regardless of what president Poroshenko promises in the west. So what the international community can do? If Russia withdraws its support the only thing Kiev may do without starting a full war is to continue blockade and fire on the borders waiting until rebels are out of ammo perhaps. The same they are doing now.
            What scenario do you see?
            Another thing, is somebody calls themselves local or relatives are local, please tell us more details which only locals can know.

  2. Michael

    A nice report to again discuss with the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs :-)))

    • Frank

      Haha, that would be nice. Still waiting for there response in regard to the article you are refering to.
      All their former arguments have been refuted very easily. So far they do not really seem to have a strong case in that matter.
      Though they must have insight in this matter for sure. A response letter could be interesting. Everything that leads to the thruth would be helpfull!

  3. Steve

    How can we validate, that these firing positions were held by Russian troops instead of separatist units? Russia was and is not enforcing his border along the conflict line… So from tactical perspective the separatists would be silly not to use this near border Russian territory as safe haven for firing at Ukrainian positions.

    In that sense, how is this information any news?

    • Aric Toler

      Please see our previous report on artillery positions. We can trace the paths of the artillery units through fields that they were positioned in. In pretty much every case, the paths led from Russia, to Russia, and then back towards Russia. There were no examples of separatists coming across the border, setting up in Russia, then going back. These are Russian servicemen, in Russia, carrying out attacks against Ukrainian military positions. Which, in my opinion, is newsworthy.

        • Aric Toler

          As JustaA said, read the aforementioned works. We used artillery crater trajectory analysis on a sample of over 300 craters to establish the firing site, which led back directly to a series of Grad-length burns in a field. The method was developed by the U.S. Army and has been used in satellite images by the American Association for Advancement of Science in a research project on Sri Lanka ( Methods and Technologies and

          That’s how we know the direction.

          • Steve

            I agree about the firing direction. But this was not my question. I would like to know how you can determine, that the vehicles did not drive from the seperatist side across the Russian border, fired there and then moved back to the separatists side?

            Crater analysis will not show this.

          • JustaA

            read the aforementioned works – afterward come back and make a detailed comment which parts you did not understand.

            Perhaps, than and only than you will get a detailed answer.

    • Bob

      Dear Steve,

      > Russia was and is not enforcing his border along the conflict line…

      Please tell your manager at Olgino to give you some training in logical reasoning and English. Stating that Russia does not control its borders is beyond idiotic.

  4. Franky

    If you are waiting for a satellite from Google every two years to prove that an entire army has invaded another country then you must be really pathetic.

    And not only that but so far for the last 2 years Ukraine capture 2 Russian soldiers which are exchanged for Savchenco and another 10 who got lost!!!!!! What a joke!!!

    You re trying so hard to prove Russia involvement on this but your evidence are pathetic

      • Rick

        A Russian Troll patting another Russian Troll on the back for doing a good job… Now that is funny…

    • Frank

      Hi, though pleased to find another “Frank” posting here, your lack of insight and contribution is somewhat disappointing.
      Actually, based on the most recent information currently available it would be more probable (obvious) russian military forces were indeed present within Ukraine, even supported by russian military equipment.
      So where are your evidence based arguments to support you in trying to question and disvalue all the valuable evidence based and traceable information on this website?
      Please post and share your information here if you are able to disprove some of the conclusions posted here. It would add to the cause, since most people here would like to know the truth.

      • John Zenwirt

        Please be careful about anyone who comes on with your nick, that is suspicious. Russians…


    The images may be old…The fact is that they serve as a reminder of events which should always be put at the front of information that the UN has when dealing with Russia ….and most importantly as supporting information in the decisions applied to sanctions against Russia.

    Russian weapons on Russian territory….withing spitting distance of the Ukraine border…weapons pointed at Ukraine to back up a Russian supported destabilization force calling themselves separatists.

    Like every other frozen conflict that putin has started in order to destabilize FSU countries that want closer ties with Western Europe.

    the world needs constant reminders like Bellingcat report items in order to keep in mind that Russia is a dangerous country of greedy people who are in love with a leader who is a psychopath

  6. Richmond Olu-Davies

    The right of states to exist as sovereign is a guarantee in international law. This given, i don’t see any reason why a state should challenge the sovereignity of another. This kind of situation sparked of the gulf war in the 1990’s with Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait. The same scenario plays out here. Russia must be stopped!

    • Artem

      Remind me of the sovereignty of Iraq, Libya, Afghanistan and many other countries. Why is the entry of NATO troops in otkrytuyuyu nobody cries about the sovereignty of states. They found chemical weapons in Iraq? Having dealt with terorizmom in Afghanistan …

  7. Andrea

    Why images published so late?


    When the images are published they are analyzed…

    • JustaA

      The preview image from DG was already used for “Russia’s Paths to War” last year, however, and obviously, the low resolution didn’t allowed to see the more interesting details.

      There is still so much interesting imagery which is in the Digital Globe database, but not available in Google Earth, etc. so far :/

  8. stranger

    All your evidences of direct Russian involvement are dated July – Aug 2014, while the war has been for more than 2 years already. If that evidences are true and not misinterpreted, does it mean the direct Russian involvement was limited to several occasions?

    You are funded by Google and use only Google images as the source of investigation, except a couple of those images bought from DigitalGlobe directly. Can those images be validated, confirmed from any other independent source? I don’t mean anything and have no any reasons to suspect Google at all, but still.

    The same is for the web archive where Askai707 and I believe you also took a historical versions of the internet pages. The site is registered to somebody Denis Petrov from Prague. Is there a guarantee the pages are not directly forged in the database at that site by collaboration with that Denis Petrov? Your other researches refer to which looks larger and more reliable, but still.

    • Account

      >”The same is for the web archive where Askai707 and I believe you also took a historical versions of the internet pages”
      Hey, you’ve misunderstood something. is the web site that allows to save any given page in its current state on your demand, and aquire link for that saved page. It’s not like waybackmachine that stores pages on its own. Investigators usually provide an actual link and back it up with saved page on in case the page will be modified or deleted later.

      • stranger

        You misunderstand something, is a small company led and supported by one or a couple of people. Let’s just hypothetically assume that one of those people have a civic position that ‘small and innocent’ Ukraine should be defended from ‘aggressive’ Russia, or has some personal issues with Russia himself, his name sounds Russian or Ukrainian, or is just a friend to Askai707.
        Now again just hypothetically assume that Askai707 or somebody else asks his friend working in, hello buddy, could you add a couple of pictures or change some dates in the stored pages because we need that for our new report?
        Even social network VK vkontacte is founded by Pavel Durov who had to leave Russia. There might be employees who support Ukraine for various including personal reasons or alternatively want to earn money. Could they modify something at the user pages, so that other investigators find that later just on the internet and take for granted.
        Another scenario, is hacked and historical pages modified, can you exclude that?
        Again don’t treat me wrong, I DON’T accuse anybody and have zero evidences for that,, VK or especially google, just thinking aloud about how credible those evidences can be, just absolutely hypothetically so far.

        • Aric Toler

 actually has some links to Russia (I believe one of the employees is from Piter originally), so it’d be the opposite if anything. Most things are also put on, which is far more well-established, but unfortunately can’t handle some pages — like VK — as well as

          • stranger

            If people are from Russia that doesn’t mean they are pro-Russian. One can expect only a more polarized position to either positive or negative side, for a variety reasons. Especially among those who left the country. The same concerns Ukrainians as well, in a bit different way perhaps.
            One example, Sergey Brin, the founder of Google, himself is from Russia, immigrated to US in his childhood. And he is very critical in say an emotional way to Russia.
            Pavel Durov the founder of VK also has left Russia and was very critical to what he describes as a hostile capture of his business. He is also on the critical side. I believe VK is not so greatly organized compared to maybe Facebook and just hypothetically don’t exclude that some employees may be tempted to forge the content or create fakes. But of course I have zero evidences.

        • Sammy

          If you are so concerned, why doesn’t the troll farm start their own archive site.

          You hypothetically assume everyone else in the world will act like the St Petersburg troll farm..

          It must be really depressing living in your world, where you assume the worst of humanity, since that’s the staff of the troll farm.

      • stranger

        Because when different sites are referenced via it gives an illusion of multiple independent sources, while actually they all are taken from the single source – database. Of course in the cases when the original pages are no longer available – altered or deleted, which is usually the case, people on social media delete their accounts when they find they are made famous, the reference data changes on the sites.

    • Aric Toler

      Russian involvement comes in waves, with ebbs and flow. There is the constant presence of Russian advisers (in the same sense that American “advisers” are in Iraq/Syria), special forces (see the Spetsnaz soldiers killed in spring 2015 in Luhansk), radar/jamming equipment, UAVs, and so on in Ukraine. Few dispute this. There have been two notable surges of “regular” Russian military activity in Ukraine: 1) the summer of 2014, which includes the information in this report along with all of the stuff about Ilovaisk, artillery attacks, dead paratroopers, the Buk, etc, and 2) January-Feburary 2015 with Debaltseve. There are Russian soldiers and tanks sent in at other times, but those are the two main surges, which were then followed by Minsk agreements.

      So, to answer your question: yes and no. It is not limited to these occasions, but that is when it became obvious and undeniable to anyone with a lick of sense. And Russia clearly didn’t care if anyone knew — why else would they send a bunch of Buryats with tanks into Debaltseve while the world was watching the Minsk agreements? It’s power projection. But there is a constant, low “buzz” of Russian activity at other times with the aforementioned forms of support (special forces, radar, sending in some equipment here and there, etc.).

      Yes, you can validate them by either purchasing them or viewing the previews on Digital Globe’s database. If you think that Google and Digital Globe are both in a grand conspiracy the falsify satellite images to show a few pieces of artillery and well-worn tracks, then we can never convince you of anything. But regardless, you can check out some imagery from (a Russian site, ran by a Russian company, based in Moscow) that shows satellite coverage of all sorts of satellites on certain locations.

      • stranger

        Interesting… Thank you

        That looks like the both surges of a direct Russian involvement correlated with Minsk I and II.

        Unfortunately and don’t have those images, yandex images are outdated, may be intentionally, or not. It is difficult to believe that Digital Globe doctors images just for such purposes indeed.

        Why may you need to convince me or anybody or vice-verse…

  9. Mark Rose

    The trollage generated by this post is remarkably weak. It is tempting to simply dismiss it with helpful replies. Hard to top: “An excellent post with strong points, Frank.”

    But, for Clement Townsend:
    “I still don’t understand.” —Clearly you don’t.
    “Or am I missing something?” —Clearly you are.

    In passing there is the old accusation this site (like all critical sites) is following somebody’s “official narrative.” Then there’s the excuse that the Russian lies and deflections are “normal diplomatic conflict denial.” The “is this news?” ploy is a well-used deflection.

    It is all trollage 101. Guaranteed not to convince or confuse anybody at this point, so why bother? Are less-skilled trolls being deployed to Ukraine/MH17 these days, with the more experienced cadres on the sport-doping case?


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