This week I took a Google Earth spin around occupied eastern Ukraine.
Here’s what I saw.
Large new Military Compound Established.
On the outskirts of the border town of Krasnyi Luch in Ukraine’s Luhansk region, Russia’s forces have taken over what looks to be an old, abandoned military site. Close to the Ukrainian/Russian border, Russia uses the town as a major transit hub for sending in supplies and for its forces entering/exiting Ukraine. Located around the town, there’s already one large military base & several smaller military compounds. In total, there are around 400 combat pieces of Russian hardware, including a good deal of artillery.
This new compound is big.
Comparing the 2016 image to the June 2018 one, we can see the vegetation has been cleared around the perimeter, the internal roads and parking area look to have been resurfaced and the entrance road now has the standard chicane blocks, designed to slow down vehicles entering the compound. And lastly, there are military vehicles at the entrance and in the parking area. Coordinates – 48 10 58.93 N 38 54 50.81 E
June 2018 image.
With the three grey roofed internal buildings surrounded by steep earth banks, the compound may have been chosen to store ammunition. However, the size and scope of the compound means it could easily be used as barracks, or just another compound holding large amounts of hardware. Notably in 2019, the OSCE has regularly reported seeing 22 Multiple Launch Rocket Systems (MLRS) at one site, near Krasnyi Luch. This maybe that site.
Sept 2016 image. Site is disused.
The June 2018 entrance: Red – military trucks. Yellow – chicane concrete blocks.
The parking area with vehicles and items already present.
Deforestation, Courtesy of the Russian army.
After 5 years, we’ve become used to seeing the destruction of thousands of Ukrainian houses/buildings by Russia’s forces. What’s not reported, is the on-going destruction of vast swaths of Ukraine’s woodland and moorlands. Russia’s attacking Ukraine’s population and its natural environment.
Within Ukraine, Russia’s built several military bases. To train its mostly mercenary forces, each one is accompanied by a training area and live firing range. This has entailed hundreds of kilometers of land, inc farmland, having been appropriated by Russia’s forces.
Some 6km x 4km in size, the base at Torez allows for the long range firing of tanks and heavy artillery, including MLRS. The impact of this constant deluge of shells can vividly be seen below. Wide-ranging fires have ravaged woods and surrounding moorland. Hundreds of thousands of shell fragments, along with many presumably unexploded shells will litter the area. Should there ever be peace in eastern Ukraine, it will take years to clear the unexploded ordinance infesting these firing ranges.
Closer look at the woodland fires. Shell holes can been seen among the trees.
The Torez base is one of Russia’s largest within Ukraine.
Yellow oblong marks the base circumference. Buildings are on the far left and firing range on the right. In Ukraine’s Donetsk region, like the nearby base outside Krasnyi Luch, it too is used as a transit hub for supplies and Russia’s forces entering/exiting Ukraine.
June 2018: Base buildings on left and military parking compound on right.
38 tanks occupying the parking area, with a further 30 odd stationed in a nearby farm.
The header picture shows some of the tanks located at the base.
Coordinates – 47 59 27.94 N 38 36 10.29 E.