by and for citizen investigative journalists

Putin’s Undeclared War: Summer 2014 – Russian Artillery Strikes against Ukraine

December 21, 2016

By Sean Case

Translations: Русский

Download full report 

Скачать полную версию доклада 

Click here for a one-minute introductory map tour that gives the main findings and context of this report.

The below text is an extract from the full report. The interactive data map underlying all of the findings discussed can be found here.

Summary

Terms such as civil war or internal conflict are often used to describe the war in Eastern Ukraine. However, the available evidence no longer supports this view. During summer 2014, Ukrainian officials and also the U.S. government were already publicly stating that the Russian military were active in the war. A number of subsequent reports have corroborated these claims, documenting the presence and death of Russian servicemen in Eastern Ukraine, as well as the existence of Russian military equipment inside Ukraine.

In this report, an under-reported aspect of Russian military involvement in the conflict is fully investigated: artillery attacks against Ukraine in summer 2014. In previous reports such attacks were proven to have occurred on several occasions, but these reports could not fully describe the real extent of these attacks. Using open source evidence, this report attempts to document the full scale of the Russian artillery attacks against Ukraine in summer 2014.

Building on the preceding reports, the intention of this report is to document the full scale of Russian artillery attacks against Ukrainian forces in summer 2014. The entire border region in the conflict area was searched for potential firing positions or artillery target sites. In total, hundreds of relevant locations were identified. The main findings can be summarized as follows:

  • Artillery units of the Russian Armed Forces fired at least on 149 separate occasions attacks against Ukraine in the summer of 2014. Another 130 locations were judged likely to have been used as artillery position.
  • 408 artillery target sites inside Ukraine within range of Russian artillery systems have a trajectory crossing the Ukrainian-Russian border, 127 of them are within 3 km of the Russian border.
  • In total, as evidenced by the number of impact craters, thousands of artillery projectiles were fired by the Russian military on targets inside Ukraine in the summer of 2014.
  • Due to the current lack of publicly-available satellite imagery evidence and the rigid classification criteria used here, these figures represent lower bound estimates of the true numbers of artillery attacks, i.e. there were likely considerably more than 149 attacks as already indicated by the 130 further likely artillery positions. Furthermore, it can be stated:
  • Artillery attacks of the Russian Armed Forces from Russian territory began from early July 2014 and increased in frequency and scale into August and September 2014.
  • Cross-border artillery attacks can be found in the entire border area of the conflict zone in the Donets’k and Luhans’k regions.
  • Due to the frequency, spatial distribution, and scale of the artillery attacks considered in this report, it is impossible to consider these attacks merely as accidents or as the actions of rogue units. These attacks can only therefore be considered as acts of war of the Russian Federation against Ukraine.
  • We invite all readers to access the interactive map to see for themselves all of the data used to create this report.
  • The following extracts give a brief overview of the methods in this report and of one of the case study areas considered in the full report.

Method

We surveyed the area inside Ukraine within 22 km of the Ukrainian-Russian border in the Donets’k region, and the Luhans’k region border as far as Nyzhnya Vil’khova. Inside Russia, the entire area of the Rostov region adjacent to the search area in Ukraine was surveyed. The search for attack sites or firing positions was done manually, primarily using Google Earth, and repeated for the different satellite imagery dates. Within the search area, 2254 potential relevant sites were identified and considered. 518 of the identified features are artillery crater attacks sites inside Ukraine, while 305 were classified as potential firing positions in Russia or close to the border inside Ukraine. Note that the 305 potential positions describe the number of potential strikes from the positions.

Each potential firing position was classified by two analysts; if there was no agreement between the two analysts, a third opinion was obtained. Only if two analysts agreed on the classification, a site is considered as a ‘likely’ firing position. 279 out of the identified 305 potential positions were classified as likely firing positions. Likely firing positions were evaluated according to the likely type of artillery used, facing direction, date of appearance in satellite imagery, and number of visible marks. If visible marks strongly implied outgoing fire, the positions is classified correspondingly. For each position, an ‘aiming trajectory’ was also estimated.

Attack sites within Ukraine were evaluated in terms of size of attack (small: 10 or less visible craters, medium: 10 to 100, and large: >100), date of appearance on satellite imagery, and trajectory. The trajectory was evaluated using a technique based on US military analysis and was similar to that used in previous Bellingcat reports, a scientific report, and as evidence in the court trial of Nadiya Savchenko. Due to time constraints, it was impossible to fully evaluate the trajectories of each-one of the many thousands of artillery craters across the 518 attack sites. Therefore, in order to determine a general trajectory bearing in this report, five craters were selected from each attack site, and the trajectory was evaluated based on this sub-sample.

Furthermore, we attempted to determine which of the attack sites in Ukraine were linked to specific artillery firing positions in Russia. First, we determined the facing direction of the firing positions as described earlier in this section. Second, we determined the trajectory of the attacks. To account for the uncertainty in trajectory, the bearing derived was converted into a cone buffer with a bearing variation of 6° on each side The attack site and firing position trajectories were than intersected over markers indicating the centroid of the attack site and the firing position. Only attack sites that were ‘double-matched’ were retained.

Case Study – Artillery attacks from the Kuybyshevo area

The region with the highest density of likely firing positions is the area around Kuybyshevo, Russia. On the other side of the border (inside Ukraine), the area around the strategic important height Savur-Mohyla and the Marynivka-Kuybyshevo border crossing was contested in July and also August 2014. In July, the supply route for the forward Ukrainian army units based the border area led through this contested area. The Marynivka-Kuybyshevo border crossing was captured by the ‘separatists’ on 14.08.2014.

There is evidence suggesting that some cross-border attacks had already occurred in this area before 17.07.2014. It is also possible to identify some likely firing positions in Russia or inside Ukraine less than 2 km from the border in the available 16.07.2014 satellite imagery. Between 16.07.2014 and 26.07.2014, new likely firing positions, mainly identified as field or self-propelled howitzer positions, become visible inside Russia on satellite imagery. However, it was also possible to identify MLRS blast marks in the area already on 20.07.2014. After 26.07.2014, the satellite imagery coverage of the entire area is less complete. Nevertheless, the many visible firing positions visible on the imagery available to us, shows that the vicinity of Kuybyshevo was used as one of the primary staging areas for cross-border artillery attacks in the summer 2014 conflict.

The figure above presents four selected areas with likely firing positions in the Kuybyshevo area. The imagery in the first row shows two early likely firing positions, visible for the first time on the 16.07.2014 satellite imagery. One of them is located inside Ukraine, one is inside Russia, but both do not show signs of outgoing fire. The imagery in the last column shows the likely firing position inside Ukraine and the path that the vehicles likely used to cross the border, which is not visible in 02.07.2014 imagery, in this area. A third likely position inside Ukraine is at the end of the visible path leading further to the north.

The second row shows an area with at least three likely firing positions. The 23.07.2014 satellite imagery was presented in summer 2014 by the NATO Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe as evidence for Russian cross-border attacks. Already, on the 20.07.2014 imagery, six self-propelled howitzers are visible in firing position in this area. In the 23.07.2014 imagery, again six self-propelled howitzers are visible. However, also two crossing lines with marks indicating outgoing fire are visible just south of the howitzers.

The third row shows an area which was used twice as a firing position for MLRS attacks against Ukraine. The first attack, leaving two distinct blast marks, occurred between 16.07.2014 and 20.07.2014. The blast marks indicate outgoing fire in north-westerly direction. On 15.08.2014, three new blast marks are visible in the same area. The attack firing towards the north must have been occurred between 02.08.2014 and 15.08.2014.

The last row shows another location with blast marks indicating outgoing MLRS fire. No such marks are visible on 15.08.2014. In the 04.09.2014 satellite imagery, two large blast marks are clearly visible in the area. Additionally, the 05.09.2014 imagery shows two vehicles in position. Because of their length of approximately 12 m, it can be assessed that the visible vehicles are likely BM-30 Smerch MLRS launchers.

In total, more than one hundred likely firing positions could be identified in the area around Kuybyshevo The map below shows the development over time. On the left, only likely firing positions which were visible before 17.07.2014 are considered, in the middle, all likely firing positions visible in the available satellite imagery until 03.08.2014 are presented. Note that for large parts of the area east of Ivanovo-Yasinovka no further imagery after 26.07.2014 is available for this period (until 03.08.2014). The right map shows all identified firing positions in the area in the summer of 2014.

The left image showing the early situation (before the downing of MH17) reveals that only a limited number of firing positions could have been identified in the satellite imagery. However, there are already a number of artillery target sites inside Ukraine in proximity of the likely Ukrainian camp near the Marynivka-Kuybyshevo border crossing with trajectories pointing towards the Ukrainian-Russian border. This suggests that a number of cross-border artillery attacks occurred in this period.

Around two weeks later (by the end of 02 August), a larger number of additional likely firing positions, with and without signs of outgoing fire, are visible. Furthermore, it can be noted that the number of artillery target sites inside Ukraine has been considerably increased. Between the new firing positions and attacks sites a number of potential links could be established (discussed further in the full report).

The final map showing the situation at the end of the summer 2014 reveals that further attacks were launched from this area in August and September 2014. A number of new likely firing positions and attacks sites are visible in the satellite imagery. Compared with the situation in early August, a number of these new firing positions are located closer to the Russian-Ukrainian border, and also some of these attacks sites are much deeper inside Ukraine..

The preceding extract was just a small part of the full report, which you can download here.

The data underlying this report is provided freely under the license: Creative Commons 0 Public Domain Dedication 1.0.

Sean Case

Sean’s work for Bellingcat is focused on the use of artillery systems during the Ukrainian conflict.

146 Comments

  1. Feanor

    Alex Stepanyk

    “De-russifying” yourself when a large chunk of your population is Russian, hardly qualifies as an attempt to “get well”. Given the ugly rise of nationalism in Ukraine, reasoning such as this lies at the root of the current conflict.

    On the subject of the USSR, it should be understood that unlike Nazi Germany which was a brief aberration, the USSR existed for much longer, and shaped people and countries in a much more permanent manner. I agree that there should be more open-ness about investigating what took place in the Soviet Union but the petty nationalism (similar to the behavior of other ex-colonies) that has sprouted up after the fall of the Soviet Union is a bigger immediate problem.

    At the end of the day, when a giant chunk of your population speaks Russian as their native language, has friends and family in Russia, and their jobs and livelihood depend on Russia, trying to “de-Russify” the country is a bad idea. Not to mention that it doesn’t answer the question of what to do with territories that don’t want to be de-Russified, like Crimea. Considering the behavior of the current Ukrainian government, I don’t see how you can possibly claim that Ukraine is trying to get well. It’s more corrupt then ever, more repressive then ever, and economically it’s in the gutter and not making any serious efforts to get out of it. None of this shows a country getting well.

    As far as I can tell, the Ukrainian national elite is only opposed to Russia for one reason. They don’t want to get roped into another empire building project. All they want to do is be left alone to rob their population blind. None of this bodes well for the future of Ukraine as nation state or the Ukrainian people.

    Reply
    • Bohdan

      Hi Feanor (is that your real name?),

      > “De-russifying” yourself when a large chunk of your population is Russian, hardly qualifies as an attempt to “get well”.

      First of all, “large chunk” is actually a “small chunk”, and should be well under 20% now. I remember it being about 24%, counting with Crimea and all of Donets’k and Luhans’k regions.

      Secondly, despite well over 74% (with Crimea and Donets’k/Luhans’k) self-identifying as Ukrainians, the Russian language is used way more than that – and this is the problem which needs to be fixed. This is why “de-russifying” is the right thing to do.

      If I have not made this clear enough: nowadays Ukrainian language needs protection and help, not Russian.
      And this is also the integral part of building a healthy, well-doing civic society.

      Finally, Russia’s continued claims about “oppression of Russian speakers in Ukraine” is just propaganda which has nothing in common with reality – visit Ukraine and see for yourself… Sadly, you’ll see and hear more Russian than Ukrainian in most places. Again – this is the problem which needs fixing.

      Also, show me at least 1 Ukrainian school and/or 1 Ukrainian library in Russia – where several million Ukrainians live. There are none. Thus, I don’t give a **** about russian claims as long as they continue the policy of destroying and suppressing anything non-russian. (Let me also mention that Russia is home to a number of local/aboriginal languages which are on the brink of extinction or already gone. Putin, Lavrov, and Churkin should shove their dirty tongues into their own ***** every time they mention “oppression”. But I digress a bit.)

      > Given the ugly rise of nationalism in Ukraine, reasoning such as this lies at the root of the current conflict.

      Either you don’t know what nationalism is (hint: look it up!), or you assume everyone else doesn’t know.
      Either way – shame on you. This is not an argument intelligent people should be bringing up.

      If this wasn’t clear enough: I’m proud to be Ukrainian (as in: a citizen of Ukraine, though also ethnically), I know Ukrainian anthem by heart, and I carry Ukrainian national flag with pride during world sport events (football, boxing, Olympic games, etc).

      I challenge you to say that you despise of your nationality/country of origin.
      Please do that – show how not to be an “ugly nationalist” 🙂 🙂 🙂 (and do lookup “nationalism”, please? pretty please?)

      =skip=
      I agree with your paragraph on USSR.

      =skip=
      > it doesn’t answer the question of what to do with territories that don’t want to be de-Russified, like Crimea.

      (I happen to have lived some years in Germany, thus the example below.)
      Think of it this way: which language do you speak when you enter a German supermarket?
      I hope you guessed: it is German.
      Now guess: which language was I speaking at home, while living in Germany?
      I’m sure you guessed this one, too: Ukrainian.

      My vision of “de-russification” is the use of Ukrainian as the common language by default – like German in Germany.
      And seeing you contradict that Germany is a mono-ethnic country: quite the opposite is true.
      The ideology of multi-culturalism has been state-supported for a long time now,
      not even to mention millions of Turkish people settling in some decades ago.
      (It is a bit too early to speak about Syrian refugees, although I personally know 2 Syrians who live in Germany – and both speak German better than I do.)
      There are also quite a lot of Russians who escaped the misfortunes of the motherland.
      However, in spite of all the multi-ethnic diversity and a large proportion of ethnic Turkish people,
      the default language of speaking to a a person you don’t know is still German.

      Tell me if that is too much to ask for.
      And then also tell me, which language you yourself use when talking to a stranger in your country, and why.

      > Considering the behavior of the current Ukrainian government, I don’t see how you can possibly claim that Ukraine is trying to get well.

      Sorry, that statement of yours is BS.

      > It’s more corrupt then ever, more repressive then ever, and economically it’s in the gutter and not making any serious efforts to get out of it.

      BS as well.

      My response is too long already, but I’ll gladly elaborate on your BS points next time, if you ask for that.

      > As far as I can tell, the Ukrainian national elite is only opposed to Russia for one reason. They don’t want to get roped into another empire building project. All they want to do is be left alone to rob their population blind. None of this bodes well for the future of Ukraine as nation state or the Ukrainian people.

      Bull’s eye: this definitely used to be the case!
      It’s also obvious that this problem is not just going to evaporate in an instant, or even in a few years.
      However, I’d say that this problem is on a decrease now, and both current and previous (Yatsenyuk) governments are definitely a huge improvement over the Moscow’s puppet Yanukovych times.

      Reply
      • Feanor

        Hi Bogdan.

        No, Feanor is not my real name. It’s a character from Tolkien’s Silmarillion.

        Hi Feanor (is that your real name?),

        >First of all, “large chunk” is actually a “small chunk”, and should be well under 20% now. I remember it being about 24%, counting with Crimea and all of Donets’k and Luhans’k regions.

        20% is a large chunk. It’s far from a majority but it’s a significant minority. That having been said, I’m not trying to imply that Russians make up a majority in any significant province in Ukraine at this point. It’s also important to consider that Ukrainian language and culture have been heavily affected by their interaction with Russia over the centuries. Much of the “de-russification” turns into inventing a new identity that many ethnic Ukrainians don’t necessarily agree with. There is a distinct Ukrainian national identity, especially distinct in rural areas where tradition remains strong, but de-Russification is frequently (in practice) less about that and more about anti-Russian rhetoric. Prime example, the laundry list of banned books and films that Ukraine has created and has been constantly expanding. Hardly sound policy.

        >Secondly, despite well over 74% (with Crimea and Donets’k/Luhans’k) self-identifying as Ukrainians, the Russian language is used way more than that – and this is the problem which needs to be fixed. This is why “de-russifying” is the right thing to do.

        You see personal choice in use of language as a problem? I disagree. I think fundamentally the most important aspect of a liberal democracy is individual freedom. Ukrainian attempts to wipe out use of Russian language have been misguided and fundamentally anti-democratic.

        >If I have not made this clear enough: nowadays Ukrainian language needs protection and help, not Russian.

        I would argue that neither needs help. In western Ukraine, Ukrainian is spoken routinely and clearly, and there is even a significant portion of the population that doesn’t speak Russian at all. What makes you think the Ukrainian language needs help?

        >Finally, Russia’s continued claims about “oppression of Russian speakers in Ukraine” is just propaganda which has nothing in common with reality – visit Ukraine and see for yourself… Sadly, you’ll see and hear more Russian than Ukrainian in most places. Again – this is the problem which needs fixing.

        Sorry but I have visited Ukraine and I’m familiar with the country. The oppression of Russian language speakers in Ukraine, the way Russia describes it, is indeed propaganda. However there has been a directed state policy coupled with a certain level of media hysteria around the use of the Russian language. There were several notably ugly incidents including a public scandal and newspaper smear campaign of an artist that drew fish on the walls of a children hospital a dared to label some of the fish in Russian. Incidents like these show a tendency for fairly ugly nationalist elements (that are truly an insignificant minority, they can’t win an election to save their life) have undue influence on public discourse and the general situation.

        >Also, show me at least 1 Ukrainian school and/or 1 Ukrainian library in Russia – where several million Ukrainians live. There are none. Thus, I don’t give a **** about russian claims as long as they continue the policy of destroying and suppressing anything non-russian. (Let me also mention that Russia is home to a number of local/aboriginal languages which are on the brink of extinction or already gone. Putin, Lavrov, and Churkin should shove their dirty tongues into their own ***** every time they mention “oppression”. But I digress a bit.)

        This is deceptive. First off, a google search for “украинские школы в россии” yields interesting results. Second off you omitted the word “public”. There are private educational establishments that operate in Russia. That having been said, world-wide many smaller ethnicities have seen their culture erode in the face of globalization. Nor is this anything new. Most current European countries were composites of multiple provinces quite a few of which spoke separate dialects and even different languages. France is a great example in this regard. It’s true that Russia has made very little effort to preserve these cultures in recent days but that is less a product of malice more just the fact that Russia is a moderately authoritarian oligarchy whose leadership cares little for issues such as these. If your point is that Russian government accusations are propaganda then you are correct. But the factual situation on the ground is more complex and more nuanced then you have presented.

        > Either you don’t know what nationalism is (hint: look it up!), or you assume everyone else doesn’t know.
        Either way – shame on you. This is not an argument intelligent people should be bringing up.

        How so? Svoboda and Right Sector are real organizations with very ugly roots and similarly ugly modern behavior. Despite representing a tiny portion of the population of Ukraine they are none the less given disproportionate influence in national politics. The post-Maydan cabinet of Ukraine included how many Svoboda members? And how many Rada deputies were they able to actually get elected? I suppose nationalism may be a word far too mild for parties that have advocated “cleansing Ukraine of Russians and Jews” but I suspect calling them fascists or neo-Nazis would have given me a similar reply from you so the point is moot. I strongly encourage you to look into the role these groups play in Ukrainian politics and into what kind of platform Svoboda had prior to the Maydan.

        >If this wasn’t clear enough: I’m proud to be Ukrainian (as in: a citizen of Ukraine, though also ethnically), I know Ukrainian anthem by heart, and I carry Ukrainian national flag with pride during world sport events (football, boxing, Olympic games, etc).

        I >challenge you to say that you despise of your nationality/country of origin.
        Please do that – show how not to be an “ugly nationalist” 🙂 🙂 🙂 (and do lookup “nationalism”, please? pretty please?)

        This isn’t really nationalism. That’s ordinary patriotism. I have nothing against Ukrainian state symbols and while a certain intellectual once called patriotism “loyalty to real estate” what you describe is definitely NOT what I was referring to.

        >Think of it this way: which language do you speak when you enter a German supermarket?
        I hope you guessed: it is German.
        Now guess: which language was I speaking at home, while living in Germany?
        I’m sure you guessed this one, too: Ukrainian.

        >My vision of “de-russification” is the use of Ukrainian as the common language by default – like German in Germany.
        And seeing you contradict that Germany is a mono-ethnic country: quite the opposite is true.
        The ideology of multi-culturalism has been state-supported for a long time now,
        not even to mention millions of Turkish people settling in some decades ago.
        (It is a bit too early to speak about Syrian refugees, although I personally know 2 Syrians who live in Germany – and both speak German better than I do.)
        There are also quite a lot of Russians who escaped the misfortunes of the motherland.
        However, in spite of all the multi-ethnic diversity and a large proportion of ethnic Turkish people,
        the default language of speaking to a a person you don’t know is still German.

        >Tell me if that is too much to ask for.
        And then also tell me, which language you yourself use when talking to a stranger in your country, and why.

        I think the language one uses is a question of personal choice that should not be dictated by state policy.

        > BS as well.

        If you have a proper reply I’ll be sure to consider it. As it stands well reputed international organizations, such as Transparency International, have consistently rated Ukraine very poorly in terms of corruption. I will add that I have little interest in anecdotal evidence. If/when you reply, please provide sufficient data to support your claims.

        > As far as I can tell, the Ukrainian national elite is only opposed to Russia for one reason. They don’t want to get roped into another empire building project. All they want to do is be left alone to rob their population blind. None of this bodes well for the future of Ukraine as nation state or the Ukrainian people.

        >Bull’s eye: this definitely used to be the case!
        It’s also obvious that this problem is not just going to evaporate in an instant, or even in a few years.
        However, I’d say that this problem is on a decrease now, and both current and previous (Yatsenyuk) governments are definitely a huge improvement over the Moscow’s puppet Yanukovych times.

        Yanukovich turned down the sensible Customs Union treaty and led Ukraine into a recession because he was just as terrified of ending up beholden to Moscow as the rest. He was no puppet, though there are plenty of other bad words that could be used to describe him. Not that he’s fundamentally any different from Poroshenko.

        Reply
      • Mr.Bushkin

        Quote by Bohdan: “My vision of “de-russification” is the use of Ukrainian as the common language by default – like German in Germany.”

        That’s nonsense, since in Germany the choice of the official language is up to its federal subjects.

        For instance, Danish language is the second official language in Südschleswig and in Färöern (together with the French language) and there are many other examples of mutlipe official languages on the federal level in Germany.

        Reply
        • Mr.Bushkin

          … there are even two languages (“Hochdeutsch” and “Niederdeutsch/Plattdeutsch”) in Germany, while the first one is dominating.

          Reply
          • Bohdan

            Bushkin: your “two languages” argument is all of: incorrect (as there is indeed 1 standard German, and these are not “two languages”), incomplete (as there are many, many more German dialects than just two), and, finally, unrelated.

            How did you manage to achieve all three in one sentence? 🙂

          • Mr.Bushkin

            Bohdan, “Niederdeutsch” is a fully qualified language with own dialects, see for instance: de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Niederdeutsche_Sprache

            Dialects of “Hochdeutsch” and “Niederdeutsch” on the other hand are indeed dialects and belong the continuum of dialects of West German languages.

          • Mr.Bushkin

            Quote by Bohdan: “Bushkin: your “two languages” argument is all of: incorrect (as there is indeed 1 standard German, and these are not “two languages”), incomplete (as there are many, many more German dialects than just two), and, finally, unrelated.”

            Your attempts to explain, which language I speak in Germany are most entertaining.

            Your “Standard German”, or German Federal Standard German (not to be mixed with Austrian Standard German or with Swiss Standard German) is the normalized High German.

            Aside of High German (“Hochdeutsch”) there are approximately ten millions speakers of Low German (“Niederdeutsch”) and Frisian as fully qualified native languages of Germany.

            Quote by Bohdan: “[…] and, finally, unrelated”

            Is perfectly related, since your quote:

            “My vision of “de-russification” is the use of Ukrainian as the common language by default – like German in Germany.”

            … is utter bullshit, since in Germany nobody forces you to use the “German Federal Standard German” language by default and there were also no attempts to de-saxify or to de-frisify Germany.

        • Bohdan

          Bushkin, your argument is logically incoherent, and not within the original context – thus invalid.

          Also, what do you care?

          Reply
          • Sergey

            It is pretty easy to check facts these days. As you noticed in Germany, minority languages spoken just by 0.09% “have official status as well, usually in their respective regions.”
            en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Languages_of_Germany
            Actually, anywhere else in Europe, language spoken by such high percentage of population (>50%) would have a status of second official language. Same for example in Canada which has two official languages English (57%) and French (21%), and almost 10 regional languages. Everyone has the right to receive education and services from the federal government in his or her choice of official language.
            en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Languages_of_Canada#Canadian_Ukrainian
            And considering that there is similarly concentrated populations with Crimean Tatar, Hungarian, and Romanian languages, which can claim at least regional status and will never agree to Ukranization, the whole idea is stupid and only createed further polarization. If Ukrainian elites were smart, they would have passed long ago law to recognize Russian as a second official language to remove this issue from the political scene, instead in every election instead of discussing economy and corruption, the language and Ukranization become main topics of argument, with expected result for economy and politics. I actually have a friend political scientists who predicted civil war in Ukraine for a while precisely because of the issue of language and growing Ukrainian nationalism. It is revealing that the first law revolutionary government passed was canceling even regional status of Russian language in Ukraine. While Russia allowed three official languages (Russian, Ukrainian and Crimean Tatars) in Crimea. Probably big reason while Ukraine has a war in the Donbas which has highest concentration of Russian speakers, while Crimea is quite.

          • Mr.Bushkin

            Quote: “Bushkin, your argument is logically incoherent, and not within the original context – thus invalid.

            Also, what do you care?”

            Bohdan, your argument is logically incoherent, and not within the original context – thus invalid.

            Also, what do you care?

      • stranger

        Finally… after almost 3 years of constant flow of anti Russian hysteria here and in the most of the media, as more people understand what is actually going on and the trend is slowly reversing, now Ukrainians have to make excuses for themselves.

        De Russification is the big mistake. It started as an attempt to find a national identity to contradict themselves to Russians and revenge Russia and joined by the dark force of real deep anti Russian nationalists from the western Ukraine. In the country where all south east has deep historical ties to Russia, and even the president finds it difficult to speak Ukrainian and forgets the words, that is a dangerous game which leads to nowhere.

        Reply
        • Bohdan

          stranger, what brings you here? You are clearly not Ukrainian – so what is your motivation? Are you, most likely, feeling guilty and trying to justify instead of accept? Or regretful, but not yet understanding the true reason? Or, maybe, rootless – as if suddenly losing your own identity? Why is it important for you to exhibit your xenophobic, anti-Ukrainian attitudes in a public place?

          Actually, you are a nice example of what I was describing to Feanor – the toxicity of (russian) mono-culture, and thus the importance of shielding, protecting against it – by weeding out any remnants of soviet/russian leftover slime.

          Reply
          • stranger

            I came here originally because I saw lots of anti Russian nonsense which I knew was not true and found some fun in proving the common sense things.

            Where am I xenophobic? Please give a citation!

            How are you going to get rid of Russian ‘leftovers’ in/on Ukraine if all your south east appeals to Russia? Kharkov – Russian city culturally, ask people who live there, everybody confirms you. Odessa was taken by Russia from Ottomans, the port city, the rich center of trading once upon a time, developed by Russian empire, etc etc. When Bogdan Khmelnitskiy joined to Russia as a protection from Poles, Ukraine was five times less than now. A lot of Russian speaking, Russian cultural territories were attached to Ukraine later, mostly by Bolsheviks, who then conducted Ukrainisation (!) of those areas.

            Whom are you going to derussify? The same own eastern ukrainians who don’t like the new nationalistic trend and don’t want to break up with Russia despite of everything? Did you ask them do they want it? You’ll get nothing but an internal conflict and breaking up with Russia.

          • Feanor

            Sorry but speaking in the particular, what exactly do you disagree about? Fundamentally, if Ukraine wants to be part of the EU and the west, Ukraine has to embrace a multi-cultural identity. In any major western country using terms like “de-Russify” towards any major ethnic group in those countries would be political suicide. It’s just not an acceptable form of state policy.

            And pray tell where have you described “Russian mono-culture” to me? What even is Russian mono-culture? Bohdan when you say things like “soviet/russian leftover slime” you sound as racist and xenophobic as the Ukrainian cabinet member who recently said that people in Ukraine’s south-east have inferior genetics. This is simply not how western style democracies operate. If Ukraine wants to have any hope of becoming a modern country, attitudes such as these are highly counter-productive. And, as it has been pointed out to you, have already contributed to the current conflict in Ukraine.

            The reality is that if Ukraine ever wants to become a stable nation-state it has to create room for all of the people currently living in it without forcing them into some centrally dictated paradigm of “Ukraine-ness”. Otherwise it’s doomed to failure. And given Ukraine’s neighborhood, failure could mean some very bad things for both Ukraine the country and Ukrainians as people.

    • Mr.Bushkin

      Feanor, the region with unrests through Anti-Russian rhetoric of “Euromaidan” escalated by the anti terror operation under usage of air force and rocket artillery is even historically named “New Russia” after the Ottoman Empire has been pushed out of there by Russian Empire.

      For instance, a de-hispanzation of USA would probably also cause plenty of unrest.

      Reply
      • Feanor

        Sure. Like I sad, the Ukrainian government handled the situation poorly from a statesmanship perspective.

        However politically it was brilliant. The Ukrainian elites got a war that they can blame the economic failures on (even though the recession started before the war) and they can keep milking the west for loans under the guise of “stopping the Russian invasion” while not making any of the reforms that the west demands of them. Finally the current conflict makes it very difficult if not impossible for Russia to use soft power against Ukraine. The Russian government was never very good at making use of that, and under the present circumstances they’re completely shut out of the internal situation in Ukraine.

        Like I said, Ukraine’s biggest problem is a thoroughly corrupt, unscrupulous, and fundamentally anti-Ukrainian national elite that cares for little more then lining their own pockets. If Ukraine remains in the hands of those people, it’s future is dark indeed, Russian misbehavior notwithstanding.

        Reply
      • Bohdan

        Mr.Bushkin, you need to write down your emotions in a more clear way… Right now it’s a spaghetti – and with lots of bad ones in there, eww…

        Euromaidan (better known as Revolution of Dignity) was not anti-russian per se – it was anti-corruption, anti-oppression, anti-soviet/pro-European. Yes, “soviet” and “russian” are still strongly synonymous, but this has nothing to do with the Revolution of Dignity. And yes, Russia was strongly opposed to the Revolution of Dignity – but again, Russia’s anti-Ukrainian stance is an attribute of Russia, and has nothing to do with the Revolution of Dignity.

        Secondly, air force was not used beyond about 2 weeks, because Russia supplied portable anti-aircraft launchers (and later supplied the now-famous BUK together with unit 332 crew – we all know how that ended). Hadn’t Russia intervened: thousands of people would be still alive, no factories would have been stolen by Russia from Eastern Ukraine, we would not have millions of internally relocated Ukrainians escaping Russian aggression, we’d have larger share of metals in exports, and so on and so forth. The MH17 would have safely landed at its destination.

        Unfortunately, Russia is an aggressive, mean neighbour – akin of a drunkard in a family neighbourhood – and is only interested in denying and destroying anything and everything Ukrainian.

        Finally, “new russia” is a myth: I especially like the Confederate battle flag of the Army of Northern Virginia 😉

        Reply
        • Sergey

          Bohdan you should really learn how to distinguish propaganda from reality. Euromaidan was not anti-russian it was anti-corruption? Really? You see, groups which realy fight corruption, usually fight it independently from the political party in power, yet in Ukraine fight against corruption was only targeting Party and President representing Prussian speakers. How much anti-corruption protests do you remember during Yushenko/TImochenko administration? Pretty corrupt goverment, worst performance of Ukrainian economy until Poroshenko, how many protests? Zero? How many protests Right Sector and other nationalist parties had against corruption in Western Ukraine? Again zero, no corruption apparently? BY some reason they only care about corruption when there is President elected by Russian speakers. Where are wide spread protest against very corrupt very oppressive Poroshenko goverment? What are the main political effects of Euromaidan- President elected by Russian speakers-overthrown, Party of Regions representing interest of Russian speakers- dismantled, the second popular party of russian speakers, Communist, – forbidden, the war started in Russian speaking Donbas. Economy- again due to policy of current administration the russian speaking Eastern Ukraine suffer the most from blocking trade with Russia. First law passed by new revolutionary goverment- canceling status of Russian as regional language. Of course Euromaidan was anti-Russian, anti-Eastern Ukraine, just as a current war, it was mainly supported by Ukrainian speakers from Western Ukraine and not supported by russian speakers from Eastern Ukraine.

          Reply
        • Feanor

          Do you have any links to the numbers of internally displaced persons? Millions sounds like far too large a figure. Maybe a million but even that is a stretch. Certainly Ukraine has lost far more population to people immigrating over the past 3 years then it has had to accommodate because of this current conflict. The last time I saw demographic figures, the area currently under rebel control held iirc 4.5 million people. The total sum for the Donetsk and Lugansk regions was ~6.7 million by prewar figures.

          On the subject of use of air power. It hardly matters whether the destruction wreaked was through artillery and mortar use or through bombings. You’re correct, Russia shut down Ukraine’s air force though not with the ancient Buk systems handed over to the rebels. Actual Russian ПВО units entered with Tor and Pantsyr systems. This was what decided that issue.

          On the subject of the MH17, if Ukrainian air traffic control had re-routed plane away from the conflict zone like ETC suggested, it also would have landed safely.

          On the subject of New Russia or Novorossiya, no it’s not a myth. It’s just not a political term. It’s a geographic term that refers to the southern portion of the old Russian empire. Novorossiya includes places like Mariupol’, and Odessa, and Novorossiysk. The term was used because these territories were relatively newly acquired by the empire under various czars. They were organized into the Novorossiyskaya Governorship and the Novorossiysko-Bessarabskoe General-Governorship. The term fell out of favor with the Bolsheviks after the civil war. That having been said, if you read authors from Ukraine, Valentin Kataev for example, you will see them use the term Novorossiya. Again, it’s a geographic not a political term. Certainly not a myth.

          Reply
        • Mr.Bushkin

          Quote by Bohdan: “Euromaidan (better known as Revolution of Dignity) was not anti-russian per se – it was anti-corruption, anti-oppression, anti-soviet/pro-European. […]”

          In this case Russian language would still have its pre coup status of regional language and “Euromaidan” participants would not jump screaming “Who isn’t jumping, is a Russian.”: youtube.com/watch?v=YLiJbkAExb4

          Quote by Bohdan: “[…] Secondly, air force was not used beyond about 2 weeks […]”

          That’s a clear lie.

          Quote by Bohdan: “Finally, “new russia” is a myth: […]”

          As I said, this is the historical name of that region, see: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Novorossiya

          If Ukrainian history differs from the official one, that’s rather a problem of Ukrainian history.

          Reply
  2. Feanor

    >Saying situation in Ukraine’s media is WORSE than in Russia is laughable. There is NO media in Russia, only propaganda.

    Are you being literal or is this a hyperbole? If it’s the former, why don’t we end our conversation here. There’s hardly a point to continuing.

    >Or did you want to say that Ukraine’s current president is undemocratic and wishes to get all media under control? What do you expect from a founder of Party of Regions?! He is looking at Russia and thinking: “it would be nice to have as much control over media and people”. But he has position to his actions and general discontent of the public, which will probably doom him. You are saying that this is WORSE than what happened under Yalynkovich and dictatorship laws? Oh, really???

    Yes. Really. Look at statistics for political prisoners in Ukraine, for the current intimidation of Ukrainian bloggers by the SBU, by the giant rise in crime and the drastic drop in GDP.

    >Finally, comparing that with Russia – oh, that’s not an intelligent conversation. Go try to organize a demonstration in Moscow against Putin. Or at least to air a program with details of his corruption or the work of his troll and hackers factories. Good luck

    Yes. Personal commentary, always an indicator of quality analysis. Without getting into personal details, there have been protests against Putin in the past, including massive ones right after his last re-election. I think this is going to be my last reply to you. Your overall level of knowledge is laughable, your opinions are limited, and your vocabulary betrays a regrettable lack of education. I strongly encourage you to recognize the limitations of your own viewpoints, and if this subject truly interests you, spend a little more time researching facts. Facts. Not the analysis or opinions of others, but hard data.

    Good luck.

    Feanor

    Reply
    • Geo

      “vocabulary betrays regrettable lack of education”… Uh, what? I see the term troll really put you off. How about trolls that play “good troll bad troll” roles, appearing to engage in seemingly informative conversation, partially supporting the points of view of the other side, but with hidden agenda to push a particular idea and shift a conversation. In your case – that “everything is going badly in Ukraine and that it’s now worse than it was under Yalynkovich and certainly worse than under Putin, and that it’s not Putin who created the conflict but USA and Ukraine”. No, that’s not what your were saying and trying to do? Ah, yes, suuurreee

      “There have been massive protests in the past” – and the organizers are mostly in jail, while the laws have since been changed to prevent any such protests from ever happening again. “Knowledge” is what you have, huh? Ah, OK, you clearly showed it

      “Hyperbole” – no, I am quite serious. Was there media in Nazi Germany, or was there a carefully crafted propaganda machine masquerading as the media? That’s not simply a rhetorical question. Who is the “media” in Russia? Medusa? Or Dozhd? Surely you don’t want to prove that LieNews or RT or Zvezda or 1st channel or Rossia or NTV are media anymore? They are certainly producing content, true. Made up content. What’s a definition of “media”? Do you consider Fox News, or Breitbart News as media organizations? Really?

      “Researching facts” – like what? This site is specifically designed to research facts. Instead you are trying to lead conversations elsewhere.

      It’s really great that you promised to stop replying to my few comments, will take you at your word. If you have something specific to say about use of Russian cyber attacks, including phishing and social engineering, to sway opinions in social media and create fake stories and lead conversations off topic – I mean, based on your experience, – that would really be interesting. Maybe you can create your blog and post a link, and we all dumb uneducated fools will of course flood to your site. But here, all your opinions about Ukraine’s fault and that it was better before etc. – they have nothing to do with the FACTS. Nice for you to mention it. Let’s talk about FACTS here – Russian invasion of sovereign neighboring nation, it’s war crimes, it’s interference with Democratic processes in other countries, and it’s constant LIES. Hey, we could certainly discuss current Ukrainian elites, but better do this under another more relevant article

      Reply
  3. Яков

    Bellingcat correct an error! On the page of 41 coordinates (39.619566 39.357260) for “the average image” not true… conduct somewhere to Turkey
    For your work many thanks!

    Reply
  4. Samirr

    Russia is a Gas/Petro station

    Russian trolls are jealous that Ukraine is modernizing while the Russia is not.

    Is there really much more to say? Russians wAnt to be cavemen while Ukraine wants to join the the better part of the world.

    Reply
  5. Dude

    So, let me guess, rushka-trolls push two mutually exclusive lines in their comments:

    1) It never happened!
    2) So what if it happened, US and West are invading other countries too!

    Am I right? Hehe.

    Reply

Leave a Reply

  • (will not be published)