A Russian soldier fighting in a terrorist group in eastern Ukraine has posted photos and video of himself online, documenting his victims among the Ukrainian military. The man, Dmitry Gritsyuk, is from St. Petersburg and based on his history of photographs, is a member of the Russian armed forces.
Gritsyuk, whose cached VK profile can be viewed here, recently began posting photos and videos of Ukrainian soldiers who were killed in action by his unit. He and his comrades posed next to dead bodies as trophy kills, and filmed the gory wreckage of a burned out BMD. In all of the photos he has posted online, unlike most insurgents, he consistently wears the officially issued Russian camo BDU, as the ‘Green Men’ did in Crimea.
Meet Mikhail Chugunov, a Russian soldier deployed to the border town of Millerovo, Rostov Oblast as recently as July 13. In an artillery unit, Chugunov makes a habit of posing with Grad multiple-rocket launcher trucks. His recent photos include one of his convoy with the caption: “Grads to Ukraine…” Another shows an IL-76 transport plane captioned, “we have vehicles and drivers on the border.”
[Editor’s note: Excuse the crude Google translations in the screenshots]
Presumably on that very IL-76 is Sanya Zakharov, who posts “On the road to the Ukrainian border” on July 10, and then “we are waiting for loading onto the airplane” on the 11th. His current status is “on the border with Ukraine.”
Two of Chugunov’s unit comrades are Evgeny Bortsov and Pasha Dyugurov, who post ominous replies to one of Mikhail’s photos of his Grad convoy: “Ukraine, expect us” says Dyugurov, “Ukraine is waiting for us artillery gunners! 🙂” exclaims Bortsov.
Written by Matthew Babiak is a political science graduate from the University of Toronto. Article and sourcing assistance by Dr. Vitalii Usenko, MD, MBA, expert of the Center of Military-Political Studies in the sphere of psychology of communications, Edmond Huet, Euromaidan Press armament and military questions specialist, consultant to French TV and radio and Rafael Brzęczyszczykiewicz
The aftermath of yesterday’s reported hail of Russian rockets into Ukraine is starting reveal itself. Further video footage posted online shows billowing clouds of smoke rising above the Ukrainian town of Provallia, Luhansk region.
While Provallia was mentioned briefly in a government report posted noon yesterday, in an update from the Ministry of Defense, it is now known that two attacks were made on the area of the town, one at 3pm and another from 7-9pm. The Grad rockets were firing on Ukrainian forces.
The video, which shows definitively that the Russian salvo struck a Ukrainian locale, has been verified for its location. Google Maps provides a Street View of the very hill at the edge of the Russian town of Gukovo where the video was taken. Closer footage of the damage has not yet been presented.
‘Grad’ rocket launchers, which translates literally to “hail,” are a weapon which relies on scorching a given area rather than hitting specific targets. Ruling on quantity of strikes over quality, the volley of unguided rockets from a Grad have been described as a “definite psychological weapon.”
Tag this story #nofilter – over the weekend, social media was atwitter over images purportedly showing a Russian BTR-80 armored personnel carrier being waved through a border checkpoint.
What makes this story more interesting than usual (as dozens of heavy vehicles from Russia have bled through the border in recent weeks) is that the photos were allegedly snapped by the brazen Russian customs agent waving it through – who also thought it a good idea to snap a selfie for good measure.
The Instagram account under the name Artem_Karat (which has now been deleted or deactivate) indicated in its geolocation to be at the Donetsk border post (Donetsk, Russia; adjacent to Luhansk region), and description eluded it to possibly being uploaded by a co-worker (“My job while I’m on vacation”). Hashtags or the images included (translated for convenience): #Customs, #Border, #Putin, #Luhansk, #RostovOblast, #War, and #RussianFederation.
An armored column of Russian personnel carriers allegedly recorded near Belgorod were seen with blue ‘peacekeeper’ (MC) markings fixed to their rear. This story was affirmed by Mark MacKinnon, senior international correspondent for The Globe and Mail. Street signs in the video confirm the column to be near Razumnoye.
Russian APCs, in vid allegedly taken in Belgorod region near Ukraine border, seem to have blue “peacekeeper” markings http://t.co/cKLAXbRQSS
Throughout the day, multiple witness accounts of the symbol appearing on Russian military units in the region were also uploaded by separate users, strengthening the supporting evidence of the ‘peacekeeping’ convoy operating dangerously near Kharkiv.
There has been no official explanation for the units’ presence, but Russia has ratcheted up rhetoric and claims of Ukrainian forces shelling positions in Russia in recent days. Pretext for the invasion of Georgia in 2008 also included claims of Russian peacekeepers dying in Tskhinvali during the Georgian military response to the ongoing South Ossetian insurgency. A similar assault is precipitating in both Donetsk and Luhansk, where Russian-backed insurgents are concentrated and largely surrounded.
Below is a gallery of other Russian ‘peacekeeping’ units bearing the blue MC mark, principally during the occupation of Georgia / South Ossetia.
Ukrainian intelligence produced and presented a dossier of photographsto the OSCE last week. The images, and official accusations, point to Russian “sabotage-reconnaissance groups” being involved in the recent armed insurgency in eastern Ukraine – Donetsk region specifically. According to a New York Times article, the photos and their descriptions were “endorsed by the Obama administration,” but who are these men? With the power of crowdsourcing, but mostly with the power of social networking and public profiles, the identities of a series of Russian insurgents in Donetsk have been uncovered. Men have been comparing the size of their guns since the invention of gunpowder, and thankfully these few decided to flaunt just that. Publicly. On the internet.
Another point of interest is the insignia seen on a number of the gunmen. For clarity’s sake, the symbol is that of Andrei Shkuro‘s ‘Terek Wolf Company’, a detachment of White emigre Cossacks who fought for Nazi Germany during the second world war.
So who is involved in the Ukrainian invasion? Let’s take a look.