Where Russia’s Forces in Ukraine Hide their Rocket Systems

One of the benefits of observing Russia’s forces in Ukraine is getting to know the areas where they hang out. The added benefit is when Russia’s own propaganda videos confirm they’re in the very places Google Earth shows them to be.

Close to the border, the Ukrainian town of Krasnyi Luch is something of a hotbed of Russian hardware, notably artillery. On the towns outskirts, Russia’s built a large military base and training area. This contains a sizable battle group of approx 200 Russian tanks, combat vehicles and artillery. Nearby, they’ve also based several units of MLRS (Multiple Launch Rocket Systems).

As seen below, with Russia’s forces in Ukraine having on Sept 13th revealed one of these MLRS units hidden in a wood, I thought we’d pay the site a visit.

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MLRS exiting the wood in which they are hidden.

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MLRS are hidden in a wood near the Ukrainian border town of Krasnyi Luch.

Some Background.
The yellow line seen above marks Ukrainian/Russian border. Including this border section, since Sept 2014, Russia’s had full control over 409km of Ukraine’s eastern border. The town of Krasnyi Luch is in Ukraine’s Luhansk Oblast (province) and located in the occupied territory of Russia’s sham Luhansk People’s Republic (LPR). Below image shows the location of the wood and the MLRS.

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A – Marks the wood and MLRS which we’re focusing on here.
Coordinates –  48° 4’30.58″N  38°59’21.44″E.
Just type  48 4’30.58 N  38 59’21.44 E into Google Earth or Google Maps.

B – Marks another unit of Russian MLRS – located in an old mine compound.
C – Marks location of the base and large combat unit stationed within it.

MLRS at site B. Note creamy white coloured canvas over the rocket tubes.

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Above two images show site C and the large base and combat unit.
Watch my recent YouTube video on Russia’s larger bases in Ukraine. There’s approx 1,000 pieces of mostly combat hardware stationed within them.

Site A Detail.
Sept 13th 2018 – On YouTube News Front posted an official LPR video. The footage is another of their routine promo videos showing off their Russian hardware.

The video.

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Start of video, we see MLRS in a wood and soldiers loading the rocket tubes. This would indicate the location has storage facilities for such ammunition.

In another official video by News Front (11.25 mins in) posted today on Sept 16th, we see more detail. Soldiers below are seen in the wood loading rockets into the tubes. This again reinforces the evidence that a building or structure in this wood holds ammunition for these MLRS.

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Sept 16th video shows the three featured MLRS don’t have any vehicle registration plates. This is a common feature of Russia’s hardware in Ukraine, first seen when Russia invaded Ukraine back in 2014. For fear of military registration plates enabling the identification of the Russian army, they simply took them off their vehicles.

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Sept 13th video: Probably for the sake of the video, the military markings on the MLRS have also been covered over with what looks like stuck on paper. The only reason for hiding military markings is because they are Russian.

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Sept 13th video: One of the MLRS with hidden military markings.

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Sept 16th video: Military markings covered over.

As seen here, Russian army MLRS have military markings on their cabin doors. Also note the vehicle registration plate. Watch this video for some other info on Russian MLRS.

Another notable observation is what looks like paper seen in the passengers side of the cabin. This is probably firing information. Russian army MLRS are shown with this in their cabins, as are the MLRS in Ukraine.

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MLRS in Russia.

Rockets 5a The three featured MLRS in Ukraine.

Location details on the Sept 13th video.

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From the soldiers seen loading the MLRS in the wood, we then see a short clip of several MLRS leaving the wood. The tracks here are very distinctive and indicate frequent use by heavy vehicles. Note the well used track running along the tree line and prominent track in centre of image.

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Closer look at the wood and a gap in the tree line, shows part of a white building/wall.

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Close-up of building/wall.

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August 2017 satellite image marks the location as site A.
Green – Prominent central track seen in video.
Blue – Well used vehicle track along tree line.
Yellow – White building and gap in tree line.
Red – Line of parked MLRS, their distinctive creamy white canvas covers revealing them.
Russia’s had MLRS here since late 2015/early 2016.
Buildings built by April 2016.

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This March 2017 winter image shows the MLRS, buildings and tracks more clearly.
Total of 8, possibly 9 MLRS can be seen.

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Green line shows the prominent track leads towards a dirt track road.

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Adding to the location evidence, the so-called LPR military spokesman Andrei Marochko features in the video. He’s seen standing in the wood, with at least one MLRS behind him. The young age of the trees and the partial canopy coverage hiding them from above, match the detail seen on Google Earth.

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From the MLRS coming out of the wood, the video shows them firing.

Note the fires behind the MLRS. 

When fired, the hot back-draft from the rockets causes anything flammable directly behind them to be set on fire. Here the scrubby grass has caught fire. This makes the finding of MLRS launch sites easier, as black scorch marks can usually be seen. Just such burning helped find the launch site of Russia’s BUK missile launcher which shot down flight MH17.

MLRS Firing.
I had initially thought the MLRS had traveled to the large Russian base outside the town of Torez. Torez has one of the largest firing ranges inside occupied Ukraine, with a distance of around 7km. However, a closer look at both videos shows the MLRS stayed at Krasnyi Luch.

Although the training area and firing range at base C is small, thereby limiting the range for long range artillery, the MLRS look to have fired from near the wood which they exited. This gives them a few extra kilometers and total distance of around 5.5km.
Not very nice for the poor people living in the village opposite from where they fired, or anyone taking their dog for a walk in the hills.

rangeRockets are seen impacting on hills, which are probably these seen on the far right.
Impact craters in the area indicate regular firing. When Google Earth updates, we should see scorch marks from where the MLRS fired.



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