UPDATED: OSCE Images Show Russian Military Convoy Entering Ukraine

With release of the official Oct 16th OSCE image showing a military convoy “entering Ukraine,” I’ve updated this post and added the image. Scroll down 2 images.

In 2020, OSCE reporting on what are obviously Russian military convoys entering and exiting Ukraine has now become routine. Hardly a month goes by without a report on military trucks seen crossing it or loitering close to Ukrainian border, all in locations where there are no official border crossings. Proving the point, yesterdays Oct 19th OSCE report detailed another sighting.

Checkout 2 of my recent posts on Ukrainian border crossings used by Russian army > Post One & Two.

The Manych border crossing.

Once again, Russia military vehicles have been observed using the above dirt-track road (marked in red). The road leads from the Russian village of Svobodnyy (border yellow line), towards the Ukrainian village of Manych. This was a disused border crossing which Ukraine had blocked off well before the conflict. However, Google Earth satellite images show the road was reopened after Russia’s 2014 invasion of eastern Ukraine, almost certainly by the Russian military. Since then, the OSCE has reported photographed and even filmed military vehicles and hardware using this road. For examples of this, see the video and images at the end of this post. Manych crossing coordinates 47°45’24.97″N 38°45’42.89″E

Below is the official OSCE graphic.
It includes long-range UAV imagery and locations of military trucks and presumably soldiers at Manych on October 16th. Note the headline – Convoy entering Ukraine (from Russia) where there is no border crossing facilities. Image published by the good people at Inform Napalm, via their website.

OSCE image showing UAV images of military trucks and soldiers seen at Manych crossing on Oct 16th.
On the left, it shows the location where two convoys joined and “unloaded the cargo.” On the right, it shows a “convoy entering Ukraine” from Russia.
Close-up of the road leading to Manych. The village is located in Ukraine’s Donetsk Oblast (province).

The OSCE report published Oct 19th. Link.
To avoid prying eyes (but thankfully not ones in the sky), these Russian convoys cross into Ukraine under the cover of darkness. As we’ve seen with previous OSCE reporting, the Russian army seems to have a – one convoy in and one convoy out policy. Again on Oct 16th, military trucks were seen both entering and exiting Ukraine.

Words taken from the OSCE report.
On the evening of 16 October, at 21:26, an SMM (Special Monitoring Mission) long-range UAV spotted a convoy consisting of two-military type trucks and one mini-van heading south-west on an unpaved road near Manych (76km east of Donetsk), about 200m west of the border with the Russian Federation, where there are no border crossing facilities.

The UAV then spotted the vehicles turning and driving north-north-east onto road O0505 before stopping at a junction between the aforementioned road and another leading towards Kalynove (72km east of Donetsk). At 21:57, the UAV spotted a second convoy consisting of two military-type trucks entering Ukraine on the same unpaved road near Manych, where there are no border crossing facilities, and driving towards the stationary convoy.

As mentioned in the OSCE report – the Ukrainian villages of Uspenka and Kalynove near Manych.

Between 22:12 and 23:00, cargo unloading took place, during which the UAV spotted 22 people, 12 from the first convoy and ten from the second. At 23:10, both convoys headed towards Uspenka (73km south-east of Donetsk). At 23:13, the second convoy diverged from the first in the direction of the same unpaved road near Manych and
exited Ukraine at 23:37, while the first convoy continued towards Uspenka and stopped at a compound in central Donetsk city’s Voroshylovskyi district at 00:57. One truck was seen entering the compound while the other two vehicles and 12 people remained outside. The SMM UAV left the area at 01:00.

City of Donetsk & the Manych crossing.

New Russian Ammunition Depot.
What makes this new convoy sighting more interesting, is due to the huge Russian ammunition depot built near the Russian village of Russkoye in 2014- just 13km from the Manych border crossing. This provided ammunition for Russia’s invasion forces and subsequent occupation forces in Ukraine. Read my post on Russkoye depot. Depot Coordinates 47°45’5.06″N 38°58’1.95″E

To be accurate, I should say former Russkoye ammo depot, as Google Earth Satellite imagery from April 2019 show it empty and cleared. However, this new OSCE sighting, along with several others during 2020, show the Russian army is still using the Manych crossing. This suggests Russia’s probably built another ammo depot in this border area, one that’s likely to be smaller than the abandoned one at Russkoye. But we’ll have to wait for another Google Earth update and see if we can find it.

Location of Russkoye ammo depot.
Russkoye ammo depot (red square) seen in April 2019. The whole area including buildings have been cleared and removed.
Close-up of the empty ammo depot. A small pond and stream has already established itself within the site.
The Russkoye depot seen in August 2018. Stacked up in large piles, it held hundreds of thousands of ammo crates.
The Russkoye depot photographed in 2015. Note the large amount of military trucks bringing and taking out ammo.
Russian soldiers loading ammo onto trucks in 2015. Behind them you can see large piles of stacked ammo crates.
OSCE video from August 2018 showing Russian military convoys filmed crossing the border at Manych.
From Oct 2018, OSCE UAV image detailing military trucks using the Manych road.
Oct 2018 UAV image showing military trucks and Anti-aircraft gun at Manych.

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