On August 7th 2018, the OSCE filmed Russian army convoys crossing in and out of Ukraine. My video below outlines this event and their UAV footage.
With Sept 2014 seeing the Russian army pouring across the border, I thought we look back at how Russian army convoys crossed in and out of Ukraine 4 years ago. For this we use good old Google Earth.
Just 6km from the Russian border, our focus is on the Ukrainian village of Kumachove in Ukraine’s Donetsk Oblast (province)
Near Kumachove is the small Ukrainian border crossing of Shramko. Further inside Ukraine (top left) is the town of Komsomolske. This town has a rail link to other parts of Ukraine. It’s this area Russian army convoys are seen heading towards.
Our area of interest.
August 2014 and the area inside Russia near the Shramko border crossing is a hive of activity. Large groups of Russian army vehicles can be seen.
A – Marks a crossing point into Ukraine. B – A command centre, controlling the convoys.
C & D – Concentrations of army vehicles.
Location A: August 26th 2014 – 1 transport truck can be inside Ukraine (left) and 7 inside Russia. The tree line marks the border. Using Google Earth, when you zoom close in on any border line, its position tends to move a little.
Pulling back we can still see the trucks in the top of the picture.
Sept 14th 2014: Same location as previous image. At the top, we can see the track and border crossing more easily. Also a new crossing has been made at the bottom of the tree line.
October 8th 2014: Close up of the bottom crossing, with one vehicle seen inside Ukraine.
Location B: August 26th – This is almost certainly a command and control position.
Under the camouflage netting covering the vehicles in the middle, there will be radio communication with units inside Ukraine and Russia.
Sept 14th 2014 – The area had grown. Several tents have now been constructed.
Location C: August 26th 2014 – Numerous transport trucks can be seen sheltering in the trees and near the track leading to the main road.
Location D: August 26th – At least 40 vehicles. These are a mix of transport trucks, some armoured and smaller vehicles.
We now enter Ukraine. July 26th 2014 – Note there’s no sign of any tracks across these fields.
By August 26th 2014, there’s a well established vehicle track. Leads from where we’ve seen the Russian army positioned on their side of the border (bottom right), to the outskirts of the Kumachove.
With August and September being summer months, the soil in the fields is dry. Vehicles travelling along them will kick up dust. A & B mark dust caused by Russian vehicles.
Location A: September 3rd 2014: One lone vehicle is driving hard for the border.
Location B: Also on Sept 3rd, a 50 vehicle convoy is heading back to Russia.
On the far right, 2 vehicles have blocked the main road leading into Kumachove.
The next 2 or 3 vehicles look to be the slower moving Strela 10 anti-aircraft tracked vehicles. These will be escort vehicles for the convoy. Trucks can be seen on the left.
Trucks racing across the field. Just imagine how the Ukrainian farmer felt about this.
Good image showing the large amount of dust created by the convoy.
So there you now have a small insight into how easy it was and still is for Russia to send its army and military supplies into Ukraine. Since late Sept 2014, Russia’s had full control over 409km of Ukraine’s eastern border.