Using these good quality satellite images from Aug 2017, thought I’d take the opportunity to give you a feel for the sheer level of work and expense Russia’s put into its occupation of eastern Ukraine.
Worth remembering it’s hard working Russian tax payers who are paying for Putin’s failure to create a land border to Crimea. This failure is all the more relevant as the Kremlin’s recently announced plans to increase the age at which Russians can collect their pension. Incredibly, most will have died before they collect it, thereby saving the Kremlin much needed revenue. Current average life expectancy in Russia is 66 years for men and 77 for women.
Located inside Ukraine near the Russian border, this is one of Russia’s large military bases. Near the town of Krasnyi Luch, it’s home to a combat battle group of around 200 Russian tanks, artillery, armoured vehicles and transport trucks. Like others, it also has a large military training area constructed alongside the base. This comprises various live firing ranges, mock trenches, firing positions and a number of combat vehicle training areas.
Base facilities. This will comprise barracks, kitchen, canteen, latrine block, indoor training, vehicle/weapons maintenance and command/admin centre. Having replaced the initial army tents, the buildings seen here are mainly pre-fabricated metal. In the top of the image, we can see a larger, more permanent building is being constructed.
Large military vehicle park. Typically it’s surrounded by a high earth bank. Artillery is on the right, tanks in the middle and armoured fighting vehicles and personnel carriers on the left. Transport trucks are seen along the top.
Sept 2014: Area before Russian forces arrived in the area.
Aug 2017: Same area as last image. Part of the extensive training area can be seen on the left. The creamy coloured areas indicate where the ground has been hard-surfaced.
By early 2015, Russian forces made their first camp here. With heavy fighting further inside Ukraine it was initially used as a resupply station for units invading across the border. Satellite images show large fuel and water containers positioned along the tracks used by the Russian army.
From early 2015 various camps had been established, with a smaller version of the one seen here built by Sept 2015. Since then the base has steadily grown in size, as has the number of military vehicles stationed within it.
Yellow line marks Ukrainian/Russian border.
Krasnyi Luch is situated within Ukraine’s Luhansk Oblast (province). Close by in the Donetsk Oblast, Russia’s built another large base near the town of Torez (red squares). The grey line marks the boundary of the two Oblasts. With both bases only a short distance from the border, they’re used as transit camps for Russian forces and supplies entering/exiting Ukraine. With much of Putin’s occupation army made up of Russian mercenaries and contracted soldiers, the live firing ranges and combat vehicle training areas are used for the on-going training of units and new recruits.
Of those seen on satellite imagery and OSCE UAV images, we know there are at least 400 tanks, artillery, combat and support vehicles located at both Krasnyi Luch and Torez. This impressive array of hardware has been permanently stationed there for some time now. This suggests these units are a mobile reserve, expected to counter any major offensive launched by Ukrainian forces. Following on behind them, fresh army units would doubtless pour in from Russia.
Overall look at the base. Firing ranges and combat vehicle training areas are along bottom.
How it looked before the Russian army arrived.
Feb 2018 OSCE UAV image of the vehicle park.
Close-up of Russian hardware. Seen here are Multiple Launch Rocket Systems, self-propelled artillery, towed artillery, tanks and armoured fighting vehicles.
Located in woods and several mining compounds, there’s approx. another 100 military vehicles, notably artillery located around Krasnyi Luch. The below OSCE images show some of them. The locations relate to the nearest village. Khrustalnyi is the Ukrainian spelling of Krasnyi Luch.