Here’s my run through of the Aug 7th 2018 OSCE filming of Russian military convoys entering and exiting Ukraine. Starts with intro into the Ukrainian border area controlled by Russia and then analysis of the video footage.
Note: Russia’s forces in Ukraine routinely stop the OSCE from visiting the border area. To get around this and enable them to observe areas without sending monitors into them, this year the OSCE is using long-range UAV flights. The Aug 7th film outlined here is one such flight. Link for OSCE original footage.
This is my video summary of the events. Includes the OSCE footage.
Since Sept 2014, Russia’s had total control over 409 km of Ukraine’s eastern border – area between red lines. This control has given Russia access to 12 official land and 2 rail Ukrainian border crossings. As we’ll see, to send supplies and military forces into Ukraine, Russia also uses several previously closed border crossings.
In Ukraine, Russia occupies parts of the Donetsk & Luhansk border Oblasts (provinces). In addition, they occupy the regional capitals of these Oblasts, namely the cities of Donetsk & Luhansk. The grey lines mark the regional borders.
Positioned centrally along the captured Ukrainian border, the area around the Marynivka border crossing plays a key role in Russia’s continued occupation of eastern Ukraine.
August 13th 2018 Situation map. Shows territory Russia occupies (in light beige) and details of recent fighting. Red line marks Ukraine’s border captured by Russia’s forces in 2014.
Remote Marynivka and nearby Manych border crossings allow Russia to send military supplies and units into either the Donetsk or nearby Luhansk Oblasts. Just inside Ukraine, Russia’s built several large military bases. Located outside the towns of Torez and Krasnyi Luch, satellite and OSCE images show approx. 400+ tanks, artillery, armoured combat vehicles and trucks stationed within them.
Russian military base outside Torez. It has a very large training ground attached to it.
Seen on the left, close-up of the Torez barracks and base facilities. Note: large permanent buildings have now replaced the initial army tents. On the right is a large military vehicle park. As well as this sizable force comprising tanks, artillery and armoured fighting vehicles, there’s also a large unit of tanks stationed in a nearby farm.
October 3rd 2017: OSCE image of Torez military vehicle park.
Location of main Krasnyi Luch base. At various locations dotted in and around the town, there’s a total of approx 300 tanks, artillery and combat/transport vehicles.
Looking down on main military base at Krasnyi Luch. Base buildings and vehicle park on the left, with the training area on the right.
The base facilities and vehicle park. Park contains a large combat battle group of around 200 tanks, artillery and combat vehicles.
Closer look at the park. We see towed artillery, MLRS – Multiple Launch Rocket Systems and self-propelled artillery.
Dec 21st 2018: OSCE image of vehicle park. They focus on some of the MLRS (Grad) rocket systems seen within it. MLRS are a little easier to spot, as their rocket tubes are covered over with creamy coloured canvas. Miusynsk is name of the nearby village.
Main Russian military bases around Krasnyi Luch. D is the main base we’ve just looked at.
C – Using compound in old coal mine, MLRS rocket systems are located here. OSCE image from May 16th 2017. Novopaviovsk is the name of the nearby village.
A – Large compound containing 18 towed artillery and 6 MLRS and support trucks.
B – Is another large compound where OSCE recently spotted over 700 boxes of ammunition. Khrustalnyi is the Ukrainian spelling of Krasnyi Luch.
We now take a look at the border and the story behind the OSCE footage.
Main areas of interest. Border crossings points of Marynivka & Manych. Manych is where the OSCE filmed the Russian military convoys entering and exiting Ukraine.
Near the village of Saurivka is where the convoy in Ukraine set off from.
Inside Russia, Russkoye is the location for a vast Russian military supply depot. Two convoys filmed by the OSCE were almost certainly travelling to and from it. The 22.15 timing of OSCE footage, shows Russia uses the cover of darkness to move much of its military hardware in/out of Ukraine.
Manych crossing (red circle). Before Russia invaded Ukraine in 2014, this was a disused and blocked off border crossing. The route from the Manych village to the Russian village of Svobodyy, comprises a dirt track some 3.5 km long. On the right and approx 12 km inside Russia, is the village of Russkoye.
3D look at the Manych dirt track. These lakes are seen in the OSCE video.
Background to OSCE footage: Inside Ukraine – August 7th, 2018: Using a UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle), at 22.15 the OSCE filmed a convoy of eight canvas-covered six-wheeled cargo trucks travelling east along a road near Chystiakove (Torez), some 62 km east of Donetsk city. The trucks are a type used by the Russian military.
At start of OSCE footage, we see the above trucks parked in the car park of WW2 memorial at Savur-Mohyla.
Close-up of car park on the left and the damaged hill top memorial on the right.
Image from OSCE video showing convoy setting off.
Next we see the convoy reaching the entrance to Manych village. It’s here where the hard surfaced road ends and the dirt track begins.
Close-up of road and track. As seen here, when the track is not in use, the Russian military appear to block the track with vehicles. However, these may just be farm vehicles which have temp parked there.
Image from OSCE video at Manych. Probably aware another Russian convoy has entered Ukraine from Svobodyy, the one from Savur-Mohyla turns right and drives along a field, next to the track.
Further down the track towards Russia, the OSCE filmed the two convoys passing each other. One from Russia is using the track and one from Ukraine is in the field on the right. The earth work seen in the top right helps us identify the location.
Google Earth earth work and track coordinates – Latitude 47°45’19.37″N Longitude 38°45’39.21″E
We now visit the supply depot at Russkoye.
Russkoye village and supply depot.
Depot was started to be built on Aug 2014. Replaced an earlier nearby smaller depot at the village of Olkhovskiy. Watch my video for a satellite time line of depot being built. Both depots supplied Russia’s initial invasion and now occupation forces in Ukraine.
Surrounded by ridges, it’s hidden from view and can’t be seen from the public road in top of image.
Like its military bases in Ukraine, the depot has replaced its army tents with a range of large permanent buildings (In the trees, bottom of image – in middle). These accommodate barracks, canteen facilities and command/control. There’s also several large vehicle parks and a double fenced off area protecting the ammo dump. This area holding the ammunition and military supplies is huge, covering some 225m x 200m.
2015 photo of Russkoye depot. This is during the height of the fighting in Ukraine. Trucks seen here will be bringing in and leaving with ammunition/supplies.
Russian soldiers loading military trucks.
Two young soldiers standing next to the hundreds of thousands of wooden crates containing ammo and supplies. One imagines there’s a no smoking policy.
Close-up of the staggering volume of green ammo and supply crates stored within the depot.