How Russia Effectively Steals OSCE Data.
2019 has seen a new tactic adopted by Russia’s propaganda machine. Every day the OSCE publish a report on what they’ve observed during the previous day. Reports contain info on the level of fighting, how OSCE patrols get blocked, damage to property, civilian casualties, construction of new defensive positions etc… and with reference to this post -military hardware seen in and around the front line.
Now, for Russia and its puppet republics in Ukraine, OSCE reports pose a problem. This because they routinely contain info showing the Donetsk & Luhansk republics forces (Russia’s forces) in a bad light. This is especially so when it comes to artillery and tanks seen in breach of the Minsk agreement. So, posting links to OSCE reports or promoting their existence is a definite no-no. To get around this, they simply take OSCE data, manipulate it and publish it as their own.
The below is good example.
Oct 22nd, seen below, Russia’s Donetsk people’s republic (DPR) boldly claimed “Our intelligence identified” 33 Ukrainian tanks and 8 self-propelled artillery. Suggesting these had been massed together for an attack, they report hardware was “concentrated northwest of Horlivka.” They name several locations where this stuff was allegedly seen. These are 20km and 30km away from Horlivka, so hardly close or concentrated together. For added impact, they also used a picture of Ukrainian tanks from at least 2017. The front line town of Horlivka is located in Ukraine’s Donetsk region.
Below is part of the OSCE report published on Oct 21st.
This lists hardware seen on the front line and in rear areas, with all breaching the Minsk agreement. Hardware is split between – Weapons in violation of the withdrawal line. This is artillery/tanks seen within 50km of front line and longer range Multiple Launch Rocket Systems (MLRS) within 70km.
In this category we see – 5 artillery pieces & 4 MLRS in Gov-controlled territory.
And 28 artillery pieces and 6 anti-tank guns in non-gov controlled territory.
Second category is – Beyond withdrawal lines, but outside of designated storage sites. Meaning hardware well behind the front line. In same locations mentioned in the DPR article, 33 Ukrainian tanks and 4 howitzers (artillery) pieces are listed.
Meanwhile in non-gov territory, there’s 36 tanks, 17 artillery pieces and 5 anti-tank guns. So again the bulk of hardware breaching the Minsk agreement is in Russia’s republics. Note they also saw 98 armoured fighting vehicles at just 2 sites in occupied Luhansk region. With their lighter weapons, these do not breach the Minsk agreement, but OSCE thought the large numbers deserved highlighting.
Note: Although the OSCE state non-gov hardware seen in “training areas,” satellite imagery show most of it is permanently stationed at these sites (bases). This means they can more easily “concentrate” & quickly move up to the front line.
To give you a sense of the sheer volume of tanks and artillery routinely seen in non-gov territory, compared to Ukraine Gov held territory, below is OSCE Oct 22nd report.
Total of 3 anti-aircraft systems in Gov territory.
Non-gov territory: 21 MLRS, 37 pieces of artillery, 51 tanks & 5 anti-tank guns. Plus 50 armoured infantry fighting vehicles seen at Myrne.
2017 July article using the Ukrainian tank picture.
Map of area and named locations.