Russia’s Forces Massed Hardware in Ukraine

This post is aimed at giving you a sense of the sheer volume of hardware Russia’s sent into eastern Ukraine. Here we take a pictorial tour of the numerous military bases and compounds (enclosures) around the Ukrainian town of Krasnyi Luch.

Just 25km from the Russian border in Ukraine’s Luhansk Oblast (province), Krasnyi Luch is home to a good deal of hardware. In total, there’s some 3-400 Russian combat vehicles, with much of it artillery. Like the neighboring military base outside the town of Torez (Donetsk Oblast), Russia uses Krasnyi Luch as a transit hub for its military units and supply columns entering/exiting Ukraine.

Krasnyi Luch and Torez. The grey line marks the boundary of the Luhansk & Donetsk Oblasts. Yellow line marks the Russian border. Aug 2014: at the village of Russkoye, Russia built a huge ammunition depot.

April 2018: Inside Russia, the supply depot at Russkoye.

Ammo base 5
2015 photo of Russkoye depot. 

My video on the Russkoye depot.

For Russia, there are strategic advantages in controlling this border area.
1: Russkoye depot can be used to send supplies into both the occupied regions of Luhansk and Donetsk.
2: The area is remote and sparsely populated.
3: Russia fully controls this border area, along with 409km of Ukraine’s eastern border.
4: Red – Official Marynivka border crossing.
5: Green – Disused border crossing at Manych, now used by Russian army.
6: Blue – Disused border crossing at Chervonyi Zhovten, now used by Russian army.

My video on OSCE filming showing Russian convoys using the Manych crossing.

The former disused border crossing at Chervonyi Zhovten.
Coordinates 47 50 33.88 N 39 7 16.35 E.

Red marks crossing point and yellow the disused Russian checkpoint. Crossing is used by the Russian army to access Krasnyi Luch.

2013 satellite images show the border crossing road blocked by concrete barriers.

Aug 2014: The concrete blocks have been cleared (red). To defend the crossing, a Russian artillery position for 4 guns has been created (yellow). Shell holes around it, indicate the position came under fire.

Aug 2016. The road is totally clear.

April 2018: Road still open and a small building, poss guard post looks to have been constructed (red).

From the crossing (orange), we can see first the road (red) and then a well used vehicle track skirting the edge of the field (below left side red line) leads to village of Dibrivka. From there is carries on towards Krasnyi Luch. Green marks the old Russian checkpoint.

The Military Bases and Compounds at Krasnyi Luch.

There are 9 main locations of interest.

Locations 1 to 5.

Location 1: Coordinates 48 2 55.78 N 38 57 44.18 E.
Built late 2015. Yellow square marks the largest military facility in the Krasnyi Luch area. Usually holds around 200 pieces of hardware. Like all of Russia’s larger bases, it’s surrounded by an extensive military training area.

This includes mock trenches (far right) and live firing ranges for infantry, armoured vehicles, tanks and artillery. With the bulk of Russia’s forces made up of mercenaries, the need for such training facilities is vital.

June 2018: Red – The bases metal pre-fab buildings. Yellow – The earth banked parking enclosure for military vehicles. This image shows a reduction in the number of hardware located at the base.

June 2018: Red – tanks. Yellow – Self-propelled artillery. Green – towed artillery. Blue – Multiple Launch Rocket Systems (MLRS). Other vehicles are mostly Armoured fighting vehicles and Armoured personnel carriers.

A Feb 2018 winter view of the parking enclosure via the OSCE. Miusynsk is the nearest village to this base. Image highlights the MLRS seen there.

Seen here in Aug 2017, the base usually holds around 200 pieces of hardware.

Oct 2015: An early look at the base. Like all these larger bases, it started out using army tents. All Russia’s bases now have pre-fab metal buildings.

Location 2: Coordinates 48 4 30.99 N 38 59 22.23 E.
Satellite images show vehicle tracks here in late 2015. Wood is used to hide 9 MLRS. To hold ammo and equipment, several buildings have been constructed. This March 2017 image shows it’s hard to hide stuff in woods during the winter.

And not helping the hiding – is Russia’s puppet Luhansk republic having made a 2018 video confirming the exact location of the above wood and MLRS. As seen below, screen grabs from the video confirm these are Russian army MLRS. Vehicles featured in the video had no number plates and standard military markings on the side doors were covered over.

Why after 4 years, would so-called Ukrainian “separatist” vehicles have no number plates? Why after 4 years are they covering up military markings? Because give or take a few dozen captured Ukrainian pieces, all the “separatist” hardware was obtained from the Russian army.

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MLRS exiting the wood. Red – No number plate. Yellow – Stuck on paper covering over what are almost certainly Russian military markings.

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Three of the MLRS. No number plates and paper covers the military markings.

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MLRS exiting the wood. Note the light coloured canvas covering the rocket tubes. This canvas makes MLRS easier to spot in satellite images.

Cover 1
MLRS firing outside the wood. This distinctive scorching of the ground behind the MLRS makes locating where they have fired much easier. This is the same for the larger BUK missile launchers. The burning in the field contributed to journalists finding the launch site of the Russian BUK which downed flight MH17.

My video giving more info on the number 2 location.

Location 3: Coordinates 48 5 25.23 N 38 57 50.28 E.
Old mining compound holding MLRS. Used from at least Aug 2016. Note the MLRS canvas covers. In satellite images, this canvas tends to show up as white.

May 2017 OSCE image of the compound. 11 MLRS can be seen.

Aug 2016 imagery shows 12 MLRS and numerous support vehicles, inc petrol tanker.

Location 4: Coordinates 48 7 24.69 N 38 59 27.93 E.
Another compound holding artillery. Shown in use by April 2016. Here we can see 10 self-propelled artillery. Poss 9 towed artillery pieces and 10 MLRS.

This June 2018 sat image shows the self-propelled artillery have been covered over with canvas.

Location 5: Coordinates 48 8 0.66 N 38 57 30.49 E.
Not much to see here. Used from 2017, military transport vehicles are seen backed up against a large building. This may indicate the buildings used as a supply depot.

We now visit locations 6 to 9.


Location 6: Coordinates 48 10 26.00 N 38 55 46.45 E.
A large industrial compound. Military vehicles seen here early 2017. This June 2018 image shows transport trucks in the red square. As they’re next to the buildings, this might indicate possible barracks/supply storage. Yellow square shows several armoured combat vehicles. Previously these were in the top left of the compound, but now look to have been hidden out of the way. In the past, the OSCE has seen large amounts of ammo stored here.

Location 7: Coordinates 48 10 38.65 N 38 55 21.92 E.
Yet another compound holding artillery. Used from at least Aug 2016.
We can see 17 towed artillery, 6 MLRS and numerous support transport trucks.

July 2018: This compound also caught the eye of an OSCE UAV.

Location 8: Coordinates 48 10 59.87 N 38 54 50.17 E.
This is a new site, with this June 2018 image being the first seen of it. The Russian army has occupied what looks to be an old military base. Vegetation around the outside has been cleared, internal roads made good and entrance road has concrete chicane blocks, designed to slow down vehicles. It’s a large site and maybe intended to hold combat vehicles, or used as possible transit barracks/ammo storage.

Location 9: Coordinates: 48 11 44.75 N 38 56 7.66 E.
Another dull looking location, but one which has seen a lot of activity. Military vehicles can be seen occupying the buildings in the red square.

The field outside the wood has seen what looks to be artillery training.

This Aug 2017 image shows numerous military vehicles parked up in the wood.

Lastly. In their daily reports, the OSCE in 2019 keep referencing 22 MLRS seen near Krasnyi Luch. These maybe new ones sent in by Russia, or some of those seen here which have now been grouped together.

Well there you have it. 
Just one small area holds around 3-400 military vehicles. With a 487km front line, a dozen or so large bases and hundreds of sites/compounds holding military vehicles, it’s clear Russia’s sent thousands of pieces of hardware into eastern Ukraine.

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