There’s a game I get to play every time Russia’s propaganda machine posts a video showing one of its bases in Ukraine. Because they are reluctant to reveal where they are located and rarely name them, I use Google Earth to keep an eye on their growth and note the positions of any new features/structures seen in the videos.
News Front are a Kremlin funded media outlet based in Moscow. They host videos from both of Russia’s puppet republics in Ukraine. With Google Earth imagery in eastern Ukraine still only showing 2017, such videos are extremely useful as they reveal improvements to bases and often show large numbers of Russian military hardware.
These screen grabs detail one of the smallest bases in Russia’s so-called Donetsk people’s republic. Just 2km outside the occupied city of Donetsk, it looks to be solely used for fitness training. There is an assault course, outdoor sports facilities, mock trenches and possible light arms firing range.
Coordinates to view on Google Earth and Google Maps – 47 56 0.03 N 38 0 20.40 E
Like all of Russia’s bases in Ukraine, it makes use of the now standard metal pre-fab buildings. These provide accommodation, canteen and training facilities. The large blue shipping containers are probably used for storage, but may also provide sleeping facilities for larger units visiting the base. These containers can be seen in several larger bases where they probably contain ammo.
Close-up of the pre-fab metal buildings. With everything looking neat a tidy, the base looks to have had a recent make over.
In these images, children and young men/women said to be aged 14 – 20 can be seen arriving for basic survival style military training. The video is the usual attempt to exploit children for propaganda aims. This militarisation of the young is something which happens a lot in Russia and is widely copied in occupied Ukraine.
The below sat image is from July 2017. The grey metal buildings can be seen, but the blue shipping containers have yet to arrive. The assault training course can be seen on the top left.