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Russia’s 61st Separate Naval Infantry Brigade in the Donbass

November 15, 2016

By Askai707

The following investigation was originally posted in Russian by the author, Askai707, on his LiveJournal blog. Translation and foreword by Aric Toler.

The following investigation from Askai707 provides a significant amount of evidence that proves the direct participation of Russia’s 61st Separate Naval Infantry Brigade (often referred to as just the “61st Naval Infantry Brigade” or “61st Brigade” in the translation) in the Ukrainian Conflict, particularly in villages near Luhansk in the summer and fall of 2014. Askai identifies about a dozen Russian servicemen who were photographed and filmed in Luhansk at a separatist base in 2014 — many of whom were awarded medals by decree of the Russian President after returning home, and continued serving as active servicemen.

These men who were photographed and filmed fighting in Ukraine in 2014 were not volunteers. These men were not locals. These men were not “on vacation” and acting outside of their duties as servicemen of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation.

These men were, and in some cases still are, active servicemen of the Russian Federation. They continued to serve as soldiers after returning from Ukraine and were recognized by a presidential decree with medals that rewarded them for their participation in combat. These men participated in a military operation organized and executed by the Russian Federation against the Armed Forces of Ukraine.

Units of the 61st Separate Naval Infantry Brigade were among the groups of servicemen of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation that participated in combat activities in the Luhansk Oblast in 2014. Like the 200th Separate Motorized Infantry Brigade, which also participated in combat activities in the Donbass in 2014, the 61st Naval Infantry Brigade (military unit 38643) is located in the Pechensky region of the Murmansk Oblast, in the village of Sputnik. This investigation will present both direct and indirect evidence regarding the participation of the 61st Naval Infantry Brigade in the war in the Donbass.

Most of the direct evidence regarding the participation of this brigade in the war is in photographic and video evidence, showing that the Russian naval infantrymen were in Luhansk at the end of August and beginning of September. At this time, the personnel and military equipment of the 61st Naval Infantry Brigade were stationed on the former territory of the Ukrainian National Guard’s miltary unit 3035, located at Luhansk, Shchadenko, 17.  The following photographs and video shots were taken from this location, and were shared on the social media pages of the servicemen of Russia’s 61st Naval Infantry Brigade.

Thanks to the availability of so many old photographs uploaded by Ukrainian soldiers who used to serve in military unit 3035 at this same location, there was the opportunity to obtain images for the majority of the objects on the old base that the Russian servicemen and its equipment occupied in 2014. Included in this collection of photographs are the very same buildings and structures that appear in the background of the photographs of the Russian naval infantrymen.

The Group Photograph

In March 2015, Sergeant Igor Bushuev from the 61st Naval Infantry Brigade shared a group photograph on his Vkontakte account, showing seven people in military uniforms without insignia near a BTR-80. In November, this same photograph was on the Vkontakte page of Bushuev’s colleague and fellow naval infantryman Grigory Kislyuk.

Analysis of the individual characteristics of the structures in this photograph shows that the shot was taken in Luhansk on the territory of the Ukrainian National Guard military unit 3035 (located at 48.574066, 39.341229). Below is a comparison of Igor Bushuev’s photograph with an old shot from the social media page of a Ukrainian soldier who served in Luhansk at military unit 3035:


Additionally, here is the place where the Russian naval infantrymen were photographed, as seen in a video from the Russian state television channel Rossiya-24 from June 4, 2014:


With the help of social networks, we can identify six of the seven naval infantrymen in the photograph:

From the left to the right, top to the bottom on the photograph, the following servicemen of Russia’s 61st Separate Naval Infantry Brigade can be seen: Vladimir Stach, Sergey Antonkin, Tofik Sultaliev, Igor Bushuev, Grigory Kislyuk, and Gennady Fedosov.

Vladimir Stach

Sergeant Vladimir Vladimirovich Stach registered on the social network “Vkontakte” under the name Vladimir Vladimirovich (his old, deleted page was under the name Vladimir Stach).

In the photograph below, Vladimir Stach is with his fellow servicemen who were awarded state medals. From left to right we can see: Vladimir himself with the Zhukov Medal, Sergeant Igor Bushuev with the Zhukov Medal, and Sergeant Sergey Stach with the Suvorov Medal. The photograph was taken in the village of Sputnik near the territory of the military unit of the 61st Naval Infantry Brigade.

Sergey Antonkin

The next serviceman, before he deleted his account, was registered on the social network Vkontakte under the name Sergey Antonkin. A photograph of him has been saved, showing a flag with the 61st Naval Infantry Brigade’s symbol in the background:

Tofik Sultaliev

The third Russian serviceman from the Luhansk group photograph is Sergeant Tofik Fatali Ogly Sultaliev. On his Vkontakte page, under his “place of employment” he wrote down 38643 — the military unit number for the 61st Naval Infantry Brigade. Additionally, Sultaliev uploaded a photograph (original / archive) showing a warning about power outages in an apartment where we can see his full name, and also that he lives in the village of Sputnik in the Pechenga region.

Igor Bushuev

A photograph of the fourth Russian naval infantrymen is below — the previously-mentioned Sergeant Igor Bushuev.

Grigory Kislyuk

The following serviceman is Grigory Vladimirovich Kislyuk. His old account on Vkontakte, which he has deleted (a screenshot of it has been saved on the site “Mirotvorets”), was under the name Grigory Sedov. There is a photograph there with Grigory in his military uniform that has the chevron of the naval infantry, with his name: “Kislyuk G.V.” His new page was registered under the name Grigory Vladimirovich (archive of a few of the pages here, here, and here).

Below is a saved screenshot of Kislyuk from the deleted account:


Gennady Fedosov

The last of the identified naval infantrymen is Gennady Fedosov. He also has an account under that name on the social network “Odnoklassniki,” where the previously described group photograph in Luhansk was uploaded. We can also find a photograph of Fedosov in his military uniform near the parade ground of the 61st Naval Infantry Brigade. Additionally, Gennady Fedosov can be seen in his military uniform with the naval infantry chevron:

Two Party Videos in Luhansk

On the territory of Ukraine’s National Guard military unit 3055, the Russian naval infantrymen relaxed, sang songs while playing a guitar, and shot all of this on a camera. Two such videos were uploaded online in the winter of 2014-5. The two videos are “here it is” from the Vkontakte page of Aleksandr Pustynnikov and “VID_20120102_061716,” uploaded on an empty account under the name Ichker Kasumkhanov. These two videos will be referred to as the “Pustynnikov video” and “Kasumkhanov video” throughout this investigation.

We can connect these videos to their location with the help of old photographs from Ukrainian servicemen who served at the same location in Luhansk, at military unit 3035.

The screenshot below is from 0:46 from Pustynnikov’s video (see here for an illustration on the Google Earth satellite image shows the angle that the video was shot) and compared with a photograph from military unit 3035:

275012_original 275218_original

Below is a screenshot from 6:02 from Kasumkhanov’s video (see here for an illustration on the Google Earth satellite image shows the angle that the video was shot) and compared with a photograph from military unit 3035:

275724_original 276060_original

Both the video and the photograph were shot in the same place — 48.573833, 39.342000

In both videos, we can clearly hear the sounds of artillery fire or explosions. For Pustynnikov’s video, check at 0:44, and for Kasumkhanov’s video, check around 2:59, 3:36, 4:31, 6:51, and 7:13. The servicemen pay attention to and comment on these artillery sounds.

Despite the low quality of the video clip, we can still identify four Russian servicemen of the 61st Naval Infantry Brigade: the previously mentioned Igor Bushuev and Tofik Sultaliev, along with Rustam Suleymanov and Ivan Shcherbatenko.

Sergeant Igor Bushuev lights a cigarette at 0:04 of the Pustynnikov video:


Sergeant Tofik Sultaliev is in the picture at 0:29 in the Kasumkhanov video:


Rustam Suleymanov

At 2:17 in the video, we can clearly see the naval infantryman who was registered as Rustam Suleymanov on Vkontakte.


Unlike his colleagues, Rustam Suleymanov did not indicate on his profile that he serves in the 61st Brigade. However, there is the indirect evidence pointing to this fact, in his uniform and that many of his friends are servicemen of the 61st Brigade. Included among them are Aleksey Syedugin, Nikolay Naymushin, Vladimir Stach, Vladislav Chikomazov, Tofik Sultaliev, and Nikolay Bolshakov. Below is a photograph of Suleymanov in a naval infantry uniform:

Ivan Shcherbatenko

At 1:09 in the Kasumkhanov video, we can see the Russian naval infantryman Ivan Sergeyevich Shcherbatenko:


Below, we see Ivan Shcherbatenko on the far right in a photograph along with his fellow Russian servicemen:

Along with combat activities in Ukraine, Shcherbatenko has also fought in Syria, and received the medal “For participation in military operations in Syria.”

In the following section of this investigation, we will look at other Russian servicemen of the 61st Naval Infantry Brigade who were photographed in 2014 on the territory of the Ukrainian National Guard base in Luhansk and nearby villages.

Other Russian servicemen in Luhansk and its environs

Vladislav Chikomasov

Naval Infantryman Vladislav Sergeyevich Chikomasov can be seen on the left in the photograph below.

A photograph of Chikomasov taken in Luhansk was discovered by InformNapalm investigator Irakli Komakhidze on Chikomazov’s now-deleted Vkontakte page (archive of the new account). A screenshot with this Luhansk photo was saved on the Mirotvorets site.

In the photograph, which was uploaded in February 2015, Vladislav Chikomazov is seen with a fellow serviceman in a military uniform without any insignia, and with weapons in their hands. In the background, we can see the medical station for the Ukrainian military unit 3035. An illustration showing the perspective seen in this photograph with Google Earth satellite imagery can be seen here.


In the Pustynnikov video, we can see this same medical station and two chairs near its entrance:


This location is at 48.573778, 39.342167.

Aleksandr Sokolov

From this same location, but with the back of the photographer facing the medical station, a photograph was taken of the Russian naval infantryman Aleksandr Aleksandrovich Sokolov.

This photograph of Sokolov was taken in front of the wall of one of the buildings of the base for the Ukrainian National Guard in Luhansk, military unit 3035. By comparing the exact details of the wall and bricks, we can see that the very same wall was photographed by a Ukrainian serviceman who served in Luhansk.


Sokolov also poses in front of another building at the former military unit 3035 base near the parade grounds:

This is the same orange building that you can see in the video showing separatist fighters called “LNR. People’s Militia. Military Oath.” In front of the wall there are a few metal sheets, with a tree to the left growing at an angle. See two comparisons below of the photograph of Russian naval infantryman Aleksandr Sokolov with a screenshot from the previously mentioned video:

283564_original 283653_original

In June 2016, Aleksandr Sokolov uploaded photographs and a video clip onto his Vkontakte page (see archives here and here) showing him receiving the state award of the Zhukov Medal in a military commissariat in the Vladimir Oblast in Russia. At the ceremony, a secret decree is read regarding what the awarded is given for: “With the decree of the President of the Russian Federation on 23 November 2015, 470ss [is awarded] for courage, bravery, and selflessness displayed during the performance of military duties in the circumstances…”

Aleksandr Ivchenko

Another Russian serviceman from the 61st Naval Infantry Brigade who was photographed in Luhansk is Aleksandr Ivchenko (his last name and initials can be see on his uniform as “Ivchenko A.G.“). In the photograph below, we can see him on the far-right.

In September 2014, Aleksandr Ivchenko shared a photograph on his pages on the Vkontakte and Odnoklassniki social networks where he, along with other Russian servicemen, are seen with an armored transporter (BTR-80) on the territory of the former Ukrainian National Guard base in Luhansk.


We can compare the individual details of the roof in the background of Ivchenko’s photograph with the roof as seen in a photograph uploaded by a Ukrainian soldier who used to serve at the military unit 3035 base.

285692_original 285771_original

The coordinates for this location is 48.573972, 39.341611, and an illustration on Google Earth showing the angle of the camera can be seen here.

From the Vkontakte account of the wife of naval infantryman Aleksandr Ivchenko, we can also see that Ivchenko was awarded the medal “For Courage.”

Aleksandr Smolnikov

Other than the naval infantrymen by the armored transporter, we can also see how the artillery unit from the 61st Naval Infantry Brigade participated in the invasion of the Donbass in the summer and fall of 2014, specifically with two 120mm self-propelled mortar systems 2S23 Nona-SVK. This is a quite rare model of military equipment, as there are only 42 of them in the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation, and in January 2016 in Ukraine there was one heavily damaged 2S23 that was not fit for action, displayed in a museum/educational area.

The Russian naval infantryman who was registered on Vkontakte as Aleksandr Smolnikov uploaded a photograph in September 2014 where we can see him in Luhansk at the former base of military unit 3035. He is standing between a 2S23 Nona-SVK and an army truck.

Comparison of the 2S23 Nona-SVK in Smoknikov's photograph with a Nona -SVK photographed in St. Petersburg.

Comparison of the 2S23 Nona-SVK in Smoknikov’s photograph with a Nona-SVK photographed in St. Petersburg.

We can geolocate the photograph uploaded by Aleksandr Smoknikov by using open sources. Below, we will compare the features in the background of the Smoknikov photograph with a photograph uploaded by a Ukrainian serviceman who served at the former base for military unit 3035 in Luhansk.


We can see some of the characteristic objects from the Smoknikov photograph — in particular, two dark spots on the inside of a door, a round yellow marker on the outside of door on a neighboring entryway — in a screenshot from a video of separatists fighters taken at the former base of military unit 3035 in July 2014.


We can also see the objects from the Smolnikov photograph in a video published by the Russian state television channel Rossiya-24 from June 4, 2014.


The photograph was shot at 48.574167, 39.341333, and this image shows the angle of the camera from Google Earth satellite imagery.

Nikolay Bolshakov

A photograph taken from the former base of military unit 3035 where we can see two Nona-SVKs was uploaded by a Russian naval infantryman from the 61st Brigade who registered on Vkontakte under the name Nikolay Bolshakov.

In the background of the photograph behind the parade ground, we can see the orange building and metal sheets. In front of these things, on top of a Nona-SVK, is the Russian naval infantryman Aleksandr Sokolov. For further geolocation of this location, see these illustrations from two videos (here and here), and six photographs from Ukrainian soldiers (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6).

Screenshot from the video "LNR. People's militia. Military oath."

Screenshot from the video “LNR. People’s militia. Military oath.

Nikolay Bolshakov’s photograph was taken at 48.573833, 39.341194, and you can see the camera angle on Google Earth satellite imagery here.

Other than the photograph in Luhansk, Bolshakov also uploaded a photograph on his Vkontakte account with a geotag from the village of Vishnevy Dol in the Krasnodon region of the Luhansk Oblast — about 7 kilometers from Luhansk.

We can clearly see electric lines in the background of the photograph to the right of Bolshakov and alongside the road.


In satellite images on Google Earth and Yandex Maps, and from a video taken from the village of Vishnevy Dol uploaded by the Russian naval infantryman Roman Tertilov, we can see the same grouping of electrical lines along the road. This confirms that Bolshakov’s photograph was taken on the southern edge of this village, at 48.535056, 39.488139.

The objects around the village Vishnevy Dol compared between the Roman Tertilov video and satellite images can be seen here:

291687_original 291878_original

Another Russian naval infantryman from the 61st Naval Infantry Brigade, Ruslan Tartasyuk, took a photograph alongside an improvised checkpoint in Vishnevy Dol, at 48.535556, 39.488389. This photograph was saved on the site

292272_original 292595_original

At 0:25 of the Roman Tertilov video, we can see the same block with the text “Welcome to the LNR” alongside the posing Tartasyuk.

Another place where the Russian soldiers of the 61st Naval Infantry Brigade were photographed is located 5 kilometers south of Vishnevy Dol, on a hill near some plots between the villages of Nikolayevka and Pionerskoe in the Stanichno-Luhansk region of the Luhansk Oblast. The location was determined with the help of blogger Glaz_CBYwnuka. The photographs near Nikolayevka were uploaded in November 2014 onto the Vkontakte page of Russian naval infantryman Grigory Kislyuk (screenshots from his deleted account were saved on Mirotvorets, here and here). Similar photographs were uploaded by Igor Bushuev as well — see the archived pages here: 1, 2, 3, 4.

In these photographs are two of the very same Russian servicemen who were photographed at the Luhansk military base: Sergey Antonkin on the left, and Grigory Kislyuk on the right.

In the next photograph, from left to right we see the following Russian naval infantrymen: Grigory Kislyuk, Vladimir Stach, Genady Fedosov, Igor Bushuev, and an unidentified man.

We can geolocate these photographs with the help of Google Earth satellite images, at 48.577500, 39.530500 (see these examples for geolocation: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5).

Official recognition through awarded medals

For indirect evidence regarding the participation of Russian naval infantrymen in combat activities, we can look to how they were awarded state medals under the decree of the President of the Russian Federation. In this investigation, we have already seen a few examples of awards given to naval infantrymen who were in the Donbass: Vladimir Stach, Igor Bushuev, and Aleksandr Sokolov received the Zhukov Medal, Sergey Stach received the Suvorov Medal, and Aleksandr Ivchenko received the medal “For Courage.”

By researching pages on social media, we can find more examples of medals awarded to servicemen of the Russian 61st Naval Infantry Brigade.

Aleksey Zinakov

Aleksey Sergeyevich Zinakov received a Survorv Medal after a decree from the President of the Russian Federation on November 23, 2015:

Vladimir Fedoseyev

Lieutenant Vladimir Viktorovich Fedoseyev was awarded the Order of Courage after a decree from the President of the Russian Federation on November 23, 2015:

Aleksandr Kulakov

The Order of Courage was also awarded to senior leiutenant Aleksandr Kulakov (his last name and initials can be seen on his uniform: “Kulakov A.V.“):

The only known fatality of the 61st Naval Infantry Brigade in Ukraine

It is well-established that an officer from Russia’s 61st Naval Infantry Brigade died due to fighting in the Donbass in 2014 — Vitaly Nikolayevich Trofimov, the head of the engineering service of the 61st Separate Naval Infantry Brigade. Interactions between the relatives and friends of Vitaly Trofimov were saved on the site, and we can see that he was severely wounded in Ukraine on August 30, 2014. For two days, he was in an Luhansk hospital, and then he was transferred to Rostov, where he died without regaining consciousness.

Reports about the death of Lieutenant Colonel Trofimov appeared on social networks on the accounts of his fellow servicemen in mid-September 2014 (archived messages: 1, 2, 3).

On one of the barracks of the 61st Naval Infantry Brigade, a memorial plaque was established in memory of Vitaly Trofimov.

On November 16, 2015, at secondary school №1 in the city of Yalutorovsk, two memorial plaques were established in the memory of naval infantrymen who died during the performance of military duties. One of these was for Vitaly Trofimov. Reports of this were published on the site of the Yalutorovsk secondary school where the plaques were established. A similar notice was published on the Tyumen internet newspaper “” (вслух.ру). Regarding the circumstances of Trofimov’s death, the following is written:

The lieutenant colonel of the naval infantry of the Northern Fleet, Vitaly Trofimov, died in 2014 during a special operation.”



In this investigation, evidence was gathered from open sources that included direct proof of the participation of the 61st Separate Naval Infantry Brigade of the Northern Fleet of the Russian Federation in combat activities in the Donbass during the summer and fall of 2014.


The reported location of these naval infantrymen of the 61st Brigade are consistent with a map seized by Ukrainian soldiers on August 20, 2014 in a Russian military vehicle from the 234th Airborne Regiment (of the 76th Guards Air Assault Division). On the map, the Russian paratroopers’ “area of responsibility” with the combined tactical group of the Northern Fleet (units of the 61st Naval Infantry Brigade and 200th Motorized Infantry Brigade fought in the Luhansk Oblast, both of these brigades belong to the Northern Fleet) is marked in the southern part of the Stanichno-Luhansk region (the village of Nikolayevka) and the northern part of the Krasnodon region (the village of Vishnevy Dol) of the Luhansk Oblast. Servicemen of the Russian Federation’s 61st Naval Infantry Brigade uploaded photographs of themselves in exactly the same locations.

Map captured from a Russian military vehicle in summer 2014, with the village where Russian servicemen photographed themselves marked by a red arrow

Map captured from a Russian military vehicle in summer 2014, with the village where Russian servicemen photographed themselves marked by a red arrow


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  1. colonel007

    “…proof of the participation in combat activities… ?” Good job. Meanwhile: Combat is a purposeful violent conflict meant to weaken, establish dominance over, or kill the opposition, or “” to drive the opposition away from a location where it is not wanted or needed “”. 🙂

  2. nyolci

    I just checked the supporting material with a random choice of “Nikolay Bolshakov”. This guy is clearly not the one you claim he is.

    1. According to the “archives” he’s got vkontakte ID 36815612. This ID belongs to an individual called Nikolay Bolshakov, who is clearly not the guy on the photo, and who has a history so I don’t think it was altered to show someone else.
    2. The marine shown on the “machine gunner” photo of N.B. is similar to the guy on the photo but there’s no guarantee that the two are the same.
    3. The “machine gunner” picture is claimed to be taken in Vishnevy Dol, at the southern edge, based on the electric poles. This would reinforce the view that this particular marine squad had its base there at some time. Now while it is possible that the picture was taken at Vishnevy Dol, it is sure that the poles are _not_ those shown in the satellite picture (or the other pictures). You can’t reconcile their shape and orientation however you try with those on the other pictures.

    So evidence concerning this “N. Bolshakov” is clearly faulty. The real question is, whether it is faulty on intention. It would be interesting to check out the other supporting evidence.

    • Account

      “who is clearly not the guy on the photo”
      What makes you think so? The same face is everywhere in that profile.

    • Dm

      Even with a naked eye a person with normal vision can see that this is Bolshakov on photo. But I just checked his proportions of the face, metrics, on different pictures it all matches up to 95%, the rest 5% simply account for different angle deviation. You seem to have been blinded by Russian media so much that even your stated qualifications don’t help. That’s serious condition.

      • nyolci

        Nikolay Bolshakov with vkontakte id 36815612 is a completely different guy. The marine photo may show the same guy as the one in the other photos.

  3. nyolci

    “The reported location of these naval infantrymen of the 61st Brigade are consistent with a map seized by Ukrainian soldiers on August 20, 2014 in a Russian military vehicle from the 234th Airborne Regiment (of the 76th Guards Air Assault Division).”
    Mein Gott, this is utter BS. This “consistent” map is from the Soviet era (with even the marking “issued in 1986” clearly shown on the linked video). From that moment on this is not evidence for anything, including the “area of responsibility” markings, that could’ve been done by anyone, and most likely this whole thing is fabrication. Mentioning this map discredits almost completely the second part of the “Conclusion” section, congratulations.

      • nyolci

        “which proves what?”
        Proves that this is not a Russian issued military map. From this point on, this map doesn’t prove anything. It’s very likely that these old maps are in wide circulation among the locals (on both sides of the border).

  4. Mad Dog

    Hahaha, so the Russians are using dated maps. Makes sense to me as they are not really hot on providing maps to anything. Using a map from 1986 does not make anything at all non-conclusive, just a fact of Russian life. The other stuff about the photos may or may not be right, but the other facts are just so overwhelming that it will be hard to prove they were manipulated somehow. Still seems putin was lying about no Russian armed units in the area. par for the course.

    • nyolci

      “so the Russians are using dated maps.”
      Are you serious? Is this your take on the matter? Now I call it a real “counter-argument”. Well done, Mr. Dog!

    • nyolci

      “the other facts are just so overwhelming”
      I chose two points at random, and even after a cursory check they turned out to be, well, not really convincing. Okay, I migth’ve been lucky, so I checked another one, and it wasn’t an obvious fake. At that point I stopped since I’m a casual reader, I simply had no time for a throughout investigation, not to mention a complete checking of the article. And this is the reason I ask more people to check this or that in the article.

      But the thing is that even if the identifications are true (or mostly true, minus, say, N. Bolshikov), it doesn’t prove the deployment of regular units. The Russians have _always_ maintained that it is not forbidden to servicemen to go to the Donbass in their free time. This group looks much more like volunteers, and they are undoubtedly without normal Russian equipment (however hard you try to convince us that these are “Russian military vehicles” etc.).

      Actually I have no doubt that there are regular Russian units in the Donbass. But they must be like special forces on very limited, short time missions and they won’t publish photos of themselves, so these “open source” bullshiting gets very ridiculous if you use some common sense. Furthermore, it is a fact that the Russians supply the People’s Republics with arms (this is the “Voentorg”). But after years of effort, there’s not even a single piece of equipment that one can point to as undoubtedly of Russian origin (not to mention modern Russian made). So it’s very likely that the Russians exercise the utmost care during their operations and it is very unlikely that facebook photos will be the smoking gun. Also, they surely only supply dated Soviet equipment, the stuff Ukraine has.

      • Account

        “But after years of effort, there’s not even a single piece of equipment that one can point to as undoubtedly of Russian origin”
        Oh my. That’s one really deep denial, and you could have start with it so no one would waste one’s time to read your brilliant findings and revelations.

        • nyolci

          “That’s one really deep denial”
          Perhaps some evidence might help. Please, come up with it!

  5. Mad Dog

    Boy, you must really be a casual reader as there have been posts here about Russian weapons being sent into Donbass, etc., and not just dated ones. How about that Buk?? Still in RF inventory, still being paraded, still sent into the area. And as for common sense, it seems you left yours at the door. Since when do a lot of buddies from the same unit just pop up on the land of another country with weapons, etc. Out in the field, lounging around and playing the guitar, getting medals handed out (for official work or just for being good volunteers). Don’t really see your arguments as being valid, but Aric would probably be a bit more qualified to rebut what you posted here, me being just a casual reader.

    • nyolci

      “How about that Buk”
      Hm, Mr. Mad, you seem to be a bit lost in propaganda. There’s zero (0) evidence of BUKs sent by Russia in Donbass. Whatever you’ve seen is (sometimes quite crude) propaganda.
      “a lot of buddies”
      Approx. half dozen/dozen, and I would really like to see a thorough investigation of the “evidence” provided here. It was really easy (i.e. no effort) to debunk two specific points, but I don’t have the time (and patience and required level of Russian) to go after the rest.
      “Aric would probably be a bit more qualified”
      Aric has been easily caught red handed with two specific points. The more I think about it the more it seems likely these were deliberate and not some kind of bona fide errors. As for qualification, I haven’t seen diplomas being handed out in this “open source” whatever, so at the moment Aric is nothing more than a self styled expert, no more qualified than whoever who takes the effort to take a deeper look in something.

      Could you please
      1. use the Reply button and not the general answer in answering posts. This requires no qualification.
      2. try to give some arguments, ‘cos this what you do here is currently wasting of time.

      • lapin-terrible

        Nyolci – You say you do not have the ‘required level in Russian’ …. but amusingly your English isn’t that good either.

        As to ‘Buks not sent to the Donbass… well even your leader ‘mad bad vlad’ says they were used !

        • stranger

          He said he is a Hungarian. You can google his nick also. What’s a new paranoia and witch hunting?

        • nyolci

          Mad, apparently when you run short of counter arguments, you resort to abuse. I said I was Hungarian, my Russian knowledge is quite bad now. Of course I don’t have any connection to the Kremlin, I hardly know even Russians. So please stop abusing and bullsh.ting, and start _arguing_.

          Regarding what “mad bad vlad” (who is accidentally _not_ my leader) said, your assertion is obviously outlandish.

          • John Zenwirt

            You are just as good in your manner as Stranger; meant as high praise…

      • Mad Dog

        There is only zero evidence if you totally discount the evidence posted here, but as we know from the majority of your posts, it is all BS. So, guess there is no convincing you. As I said, Aric would be more qualified to answer than I would be, and probably a bit more qualified than you seem to be. As for reply, there may or may not be a ready Reply button available, so guess you will just have to tough it out.

        • nyolci

          “Aric would be more qualified to answer ”
          Aric doesn’t have any formal qualification, or any qualification whatsoever in this subject. He has some experience but apparently he is not quite neutral, he’s been caugth at least a few times, so it is quite clear that he is more a propagandist posing as an expert than a person with qualifications. Your argument relating relavite qualification levels falls far short.

          • Mad Dog

            And your qualifications are??? You are so ready to criticize this, but on what basis. You have some inside information. Until you can provide that kind of info, your critiques fall short as well.

          • nyolci

            “And your qualifications are???”
            Now this is a good question at last, and I actually happy to have a _real_ conversation with you, so please try not to dismiss what I say immediately, out of hand. I’m pretty sure you’re a curious individual, not a propagandist or whatever, and I would be the happiest to have a good partner in debates.

            I think we can agree that what we need is qualified intelligence analysts. Neither Aric nor I are that. I’m a computer engineer, so not _that_ unqualified, and I actually majored in signal processing, so I know this or that how to fake a picture and how to analyze one (when I got my degree, we were more concerned with _sound_ ‘cos that time picture processing was more like supercomputing, but the difference is not that great, and I actually did picture processing as well for a pilot _industrial_ project back in 1993 during university).

            As for geolocation etc. the relevant field is geographic computing, a fairly well researched field, which has a great history and relevant research even in the 80s. For recognizing other stuff (like faces, vehicles) there has been a great advance and there are tools but mostly these still not general enough for use by amateurs.

            All in all there certainly are people who are more qualified than Aric and me. Eliot famously doesn’t have any qualification. And this is the catch, ‘cos it has happened several times that Eliot (or more generally Bellingcat) has been debunked by _real_ experts. In one embarrassing accident Spiegel had to withdraw an article and apologize.

            So, to cut it short, the qualifications of Bellingcat are far from being “out of question”, quite to the contrary. The relevant fields are usually well established, but the most important qualification is done by intelligence agencies, and that is not open to the general public. Moreover even a few years of open source research isn’t enough to get someone automatically qualified.

          • Dm

            You say you are just a casual reader yet you are so bent on parroting Kremlin propaganda line and engaging in the same deep denial in the face of evidence. According to Russian law active military servicemen cannot leave Russia even for civil purposes without special authorization from the government and they have to describe exactly where they go, stay and come back. Russia is simply uses its typical deceptive sleezy tactics, but is getting exposed. You seem to be very eager tell us that what we see is not there. I mean if you buy into Russia’s myths, it doesn’t mean that we should.

            As for qualifications, the Joint Investigation Committee is qualified enough and it has concluded that BUK was brought in from Russia.

            My compliments to Russian propaganda, it can get so strongly even in Hungary. I’m impressed, I thought that Russians are the only people destroyed by Kremlin.

          • nyolci

            (somehow I can’t reply directly, the button is missing.)
            “According to Russian law active military servicemen cannot leave Russia”
            None other than Putin said that servicemen on leave do whatever they want, including going to the Donbass.

            “Joint Investigation Committee is qualified enough and it has concluded that BUK was brought in from Russia.”
            This is simply not true. It is likely that they wanted to convey this impression, although their evidence falls quite sort of it. Actually, the whole thing is about whether they attribute this to the M1 or M2 version of the missile (or something to this effect), ‘cos M1 is exsoviet and in Ukrainian service, M2 is more modern. The JIC bent forward and backward to demonstrate (not very convincingly) that 4 fragments out of a few hundred are of the bowtie shape, that is the characteristic of the M2 missile.

            “if you buy into Russia’s myths”
            AFAIK, I don’t buy into anything. The “Western” evidence is simply not convincing. Actually, the whole matter is obviously propagandized. Eg. a few hours after the MH17 shooting they were blaming Putin personally. If the Russians or the separatists had been the perpetrators, it would’ve been clearly an accident, and the question why civilian traffic had been allowed to flow there should’ve been raised. But actually, there’s no clear evidence (not even circumstantial) for the Russian or separatist case.

  6. Adam h

    Interesting article and great research. Everyone knows by now that Russian troops were operating in Ukraine, and now in Syria, but such direct evidence is still interesting to see.

    Russia is such a strange scary country these days. From what i can tell, the West tried fairly hard to work with Russia following the end of the cold war, and the relationship was actually on an upward trend until Putin.

    I just wish more Russians could see it, accept it is the wrong way forward, and do more to make their leaders see it.

    In a short space of time now we have had Georgia, Ukraine, now propping up Assad in Syria, the doping at all levels of sports, the murder of other nationals by state sponsored assassins in Turkey and London, the murders and harrasment of Journalists, the terrible corruption endemic and deep rooted in all layers of industry (on which i have some personal experience, i had a colleague come back from Moscow after attempting to carry out a legitimate business deal and he was genuinely feared for his life over there due to threats and the fear he would be kidnapped / murdered. It is i am told a scary place to try and do business if you haven’t acquired or bribed the right kind of ‘connections’ beforehand).

    Such a shame as it all just holds back what could & should be such a great country, and the ordinary Russian people (who suffer the most) are as generous and open hearted people as they come.

    • stranger

      “Russia is such a strange scary country these days.”
      I think that fear and misunderstanding come from a lack a knowleage, a lack of objective information. I don’t know what country you are from. But If almost all western propaganda worked against your country as they do now against Russia, all not very informed people would say: what a strange and scary country. All countries have own serious problems and drawbacks. Especially with Russia it is very important to separate old common stereotypes and evil propagandistic statements from real facts. For me, who lived almost all my live in Moscow, despite of all objective problems in Russia, is not very pleasant to hear your unfair accusations, because I know they are at least exaggerated if not completely wrong.

  7. Mr.Bushkin

    Anyway, I’d not expect an opolcheniye unit or a cossack formation to possess a “Nona-SVK” mortar seen in Luhansk, therefore it looks like mercenaries.


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