Russia’s Forces in Ukraine Building New Base

Outside the Ukrainian border town of Krasnyi Luch, satellite imagery show Russia’s forces have been building a new base. The bases location and design suggest it maybe used as an ammunition depot. Less than 30km from the Russian border, Krasnyi Luch makes for a convenient transit hub for Russian forces and supplies entering and exiting Ukraine. The town already plays host to one large Russia’s forces base and numerous compounds holding substantial pieces of Russian hardware, much of it artillery.

Krasnyi Luch. It’s located in Ukraine’s Luhansk Oblast (Province). The Donetsk Oblast is on the left, across the grey line. The Ukrainian/Russian border is marked by the yellow line.

Previously, the base looks to be have been a disused military base from the period when Ukraine was formally part of Russia. With the main buildings surrounded by high earth banks and an external rail line leading to them, this suggests it was probably used for storing ammunition of some kind. The below 2014 image shows the site unoccupied and overgrown with vegetation. Coordinates: 48°10’58.49″N 38°54’50.12″E

Base: August 2014.
Base: September 2019.

Fast forward to Sept 2019 and its had a major makeover.
Satellite images show Russia’s forces having first arrived here in 2017. Two years on, much of the weeds and vegetation has been cleared. The high earth banks surrounding the main internal buildings have been cleaned and the roofs of the two larger buildings are under repair. A new building has been built, a second fence around the base is under construction, and the road entrance has been fortified.

The main base buildings in Aug 2014.
The main base buildings Sept 2019. Area has been cleaned up. Work on repairing the roofs is underway and a new smaller building has been constructed on the lower right-hand side.
Sept 2019: Detail around the base perimeter.

Seen above, we can see some of the work carried out around the base perimeter.
A: To make vehicles slow down, probably concrete blocks have been placed on the road.
B: Old building knocked down.
C: A second fence is being built around the base.
D: A sunken earth emplacement has been dug facing the entrance. There looks to be a covered armoured vehicle inside it.
E: With well worn paths leading to them, these two structures maybe gun emplacements or anti-aircraft positions. Future sat images may show more detail.

What’s the base going to be used for?
Well there’s certainly a lot of effort going into upgrading and protecting it. To me the site screams ammunition storage depot. The secluded location away from the town and the main buildings shielded from prying eyes by high earth banks, make it ideal for ammo storage. We’ll just have to wait and see what more recent satellite images reveal.

Rail line.
Below image shows the rail line (red) which leads into the base, stopping right opposite the main buildings. No evidence yet this branch line has been repaired – should it be so, this will be convincing evidence Russia’s using the base to store military supplies. However, even without the rail line, the short distance from the Russian border makes it easy for Russian military convoys to reach the base by road in little more than an hour. The yellow line marks the main rail line. Since Sept 2014, Russia’s had full control over 2 railway lines into Ukraine.

The main rail line can be seen marked in yellow. The red line marks a rail line leading direct into the base. As of Sept 2019, this branch line shows no sign of having been repaired.
Base location – red square.
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