A few snippets of news.
Relatively quiet on the eastern front. Yesterday Russia’s forces in Ukraine opened up 4 times, two of them using mortars. And so far today, once with mortar fire. On the plus side, no Ukrainian casualties have been reported.
Ukrainian military report on Face Book.
Ukraine’s New President.
Yesterday, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy visited the front line for the first time. In the Luhansk Oblast (province) he toured front line positions in Stanytsia Luhanska and Shchastya. Talked with soldiers about living conditions, food quality, equipment, housing, social package and staffing of units. President talked about the need to improve the conditions for soldiers. For more pictures/info – visit Ukraine’s Presidential website.
Seen above, in Stanytsia Luhanska, Zelenskyy looked out on Russia’s forces positions, just 400 meters away. To get a feel for the current military situation, he held meetings with the Joint Forces Commander, Lieutenant-General Oleksandr Syrsky and the Chief of the General Staff – Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, Lieutenant-General Ruslan Khomchak.
Personally I was pleased to see the president wearing civilian cloths, rather than donning military uniform. He’s not a soldier and one imagines he knows that all too well and wanted to make that important distinction. Yes, he stands out from the crowd and some may say he was a Russian snipers dream, but c’est la vie. Visit any front line and you risk getting killed.
New Russia’s Forces Supply Depot.
Looking around Google Earth, I saw Russia’s substantially enlarged and changed the location of its supply depot on the Mariupol front. On Ukraine’s south Azov Sea coast, and less than 4km from the Russian border, lies the small Ukrainian village of Markyne. Close by, is the official Ukrainian/Russian border crossing, it having been under the control of Russia’s forces since 2014.
Since 2015, Russia had used two industrial/farm buildings (yellow) on the western end of the village. May 2018 sat images indicate the yellow site has been abandoned and a new much larger depot established nearby (red). 2017 sat images show Russian military vehicles have already been using the red site, but the below 2018 sat images tell us its now been fully adapted for military use. Site will be used by supply convoys and as a transit camp for new military units entering/leaving Ukraine via Russia.
Old military site – Yellow and new one – Red.
Russian military vehicles in 2015 using the smaller yellow site.
The new larger military site. The blue marks the line of the large earth bank and ditch which has been dug around the buildings, along with a firing position and trench (blue square) on the outside.
A closer look. I would say the smaller building on the right, surrounded by the earth bank is probably used to hold ammunition. Certainly the need to acquire these larger buildings and substantially increase the size of their Markyne site, shows Russia isn’t planning to abandon eastern Ukraine any time soon. One imagines they’re probably storing some hardware such as tanks in some of the buildings. Others will be kitted out as rudimentary barracks and for equipment/ammo storage.
It wont have escaped your notice, that Russia is deliberately using those living in Markyne as human shields. By deliberately siting a large military position next to civilian houses, they are knowingly endangering the lives of every man, women and child living there.
Village of Markyne top left. The formal border crossing is down next to the Russian village of Maksimov. Russian military convoys will use this crossing and simply drive up to Markyne (probably at night). Just 15km away, there is also the remote border crossing at Kuznetsi which we know Russian forces routinely use.