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Ukraine Conflict Vehicle Tracking Project: First Days

February 6, 2015

By Veli-Pekka Kivimäki

Earlier this week, Bellingcat launched the Ukraine conflict vehicle tracking project, a collaborative effort where we collect reports on movement of military equipment in and near Ukraine to determine if Russian units have crossed the border. The data is collected on a beautiful platform called Silk, where it can be analyzed and visualized in many different ways.
The launch grabbed plenty of attention:

We hope to keep growing the data set through community contributions via Checkdesk, and we’re off to a great start! The following graph shows real-time status of reports added to the database, by date:

Another view shows the latest additions:

Also happy to note that redditors had found the equipment list with pictures useful, as it can be used as a quick guide to identifying some of the most common vehicles seen in the conflict.

As mentioned previously, we welcome contributions to the project’s data set via Checkdesk:


Veli-Pekka Kivimäki

Veli-Pekka is a doctoral student at Finnish National Defence University, researching social media and open source intelligence. He has a long background in the technology industry, more recently focusing on defense research.

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  1. Nill Nilsen

    Putin draws reservists and prepares for war. It will be stopped only by the weapon. Putin won’t look for the diplomatic decision. Putin believe in military defeat of the Ukrainian army. Refusal of military aid to Ukraine will stop Putin? It is silly. Lack of the weapon at the opponent never stopped an aggressor. Not to provide weapons for Ukraine simply increases Russia’s temptation to escalate the intervention.
    Only when Ukrainian military defence can plausibly hold Russian offence to a stalemate will a negotiated settlement become possible. Sometimes it takes guns to stop the guns. If Ukraine receives weapons and Putin will stop the Russian separatist will agree about the termination of military operation. Without it any diplomatic decision waits for a fate of the Minsk and Budapest Memorandum.
    Russian separatist don’t want a better life for the Donbas residents. They are just in it for the fight and don’t care who gets killed. The Russian terrorists place weapon emplacement in inhabited block. Then shoot at the Ukrainian army and at civil people. Separatists do it specially to cause hatred to Kiev. And for show of the Russian television.

  2. Walker

    Nill, U.S. and NATO will never support Ukraine enough to stop Russia. The best that it will do is stop the current style aggression and force Russia into either accepting the Minsk agreement, or upping the aggression to the point that it can no longer maintain its deniability inside Russia. I am really interested in what Merkel and Hollander have in their plans for Russia.

    • Will Toynbee

      Merkel and Hollande have enough problems. They are the ones who will suffer from the sanctions they impose. They are learning that it is expensive to be friends with the USA and that the USA only cares about itself.
      Merkel and Hollande should make friends with Russia

  3. Tony

    Good work by you! I wonder whether you can find out if this tweet is real and authenticate its sender. I can’t find this tweet again. I thing the author was a malesian journalist:

    “Dutch media and goverment insult us with their lying by omission:
    Mohd Azahar: Tell us exactly what type of shrapnel was found in the
    bodies of our MH17 pilots.
    We know Dutch Goverment knows!”

    TY very much.

  4. Valentyna Savchenko

    I am Ukrainian. We are trying to oppose Russian aggression. We are paying the highest cost – the lives of our best people. We are fighting not ony for our country. We are fighting for you, Europe, for our common values. We need help, we badly need help in our figh against the imperialist monster. Thank you for your work, we are going to see its results at the Court in the Hague as proofs and evidence.


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