In July/August 2014, the regular Russian army invaded eastern Ukraine. By late Sept 2014, Russia gained full total control over 409km of Ukraine’s eastern border. This gave it full control over 12 official Ukrainian border crossings, 2 rail lines and several previously disused crossings.
August 2014: At Donetsk & Gukovo, Russia allowed OSCE (Organisation for Security & Co-Operation in Europe) to monitor two of its border crossings. Both crossings lead into Ukraine’s Luhansk Oblast (Province), but the bulk of fighting is in Ukraine’s Donetsk Oblast.
Using OSCE weekly published data, I counted up the total number of people seen wearing military uniform. These crossed in and out of Ukraine, via Russia.
Link to OSCE weekly reports.
From August 2014 – Jan 2nd 2018.
OSCE monitors observed…
Total of 33,869 – Persons wearing “military-style outfits”.
This total is likely to be far higher. Every month sees thousands of buses, vans, trucks and other vehicles using both border crossings, thereby making it impossible to observe everyone inside them.
Sept 3rd 2014: OSCE reported conversations held with those wearing military uniform. They stated “At both Border Crossing Points, some supporters of the self-proclaimed republics explained that they are not allowed to cross the border with weapons. However, on the other side, there are organized places where they receive weapons, ammunition and equipment and are dispatched to their assigned areas on the Ukrainian side. Upon return, they hand over weapons, ammunition and other military equipment and cross back into the Russian Federation.” Link for report.
OSCE monitors on the border.
Clearly Russia does not want photos and film footage of its soldiers and mercenaries seen crossing into Ukraine with guns, so the above system has been put in place to avoid such unwelcome publicity.
With 33,869 soldiers having crossed at just 2 of the 12 official Ukrainian crossing controlled by Russia, one can only imagine how many more have done so via the other 10 road and 2 rail crossings?
My video detailing more info on Russian led forces crossing in and out of Ukraine.