This report provides new evidence of the participation of the 5th Separate Tank Brigade of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation (Ulan-Ude, military unit 46108) in the fighting in Donbas. Previous reporting on this subject can be found here:
“We were fully aware of what we brought ourselves to and what could happen”
“How These Adorable Puppies Exposed Russian Involvement in Ukraine”
“Russian tankers in Donbas: crew commander identified”
“20-year-old Alexander Minakov from Chita lost his leg in a tank in Donbas – Blogger”
On February 17, eyewitnesses in Makiivka uploaded two videos to Youtube showing a military convoy traveling north toward Debaltseve.
Just a day before, Dmitry Peskov, the Press Secretary for President Putin, reported that Putin had discussed the implementation of the Minsk Agreement during the meeting of the Russian Security Council. It was the third day since the signing of the agreement, and all military activities were supposed to have been stopped by then…
The convoy on Makiivka consisted of at least ten main battle tanks (T-72B, 1984 and 1989 models), four BMP IFVs, one MT-LB armored vehicle, and support vehicles – at least seven army trucks and four tanker trucks.
The location of the first video:
The location of the second video:
It is worth noting that all vehicles had distinctive markings on their sides: a white empty square.
Similar markings are used for the vehicles of August, an illegal armed formation. However, unlike August, the convoy in Makiivka:
- Had no vehicles with the name “August”, personal names, or two digit numbers painted on them.
- Consisted of T-72B tanks of two model years, while August uses a very diverse collection of tanks, mostly T-64A and T-64BV.
- Included fuel trucks, which almost never happens with illegal armed formations, because they operate within reach of their supply bases.
On February 18 and 19, the armor with white squares was in the center of the action in the area around Debaltseve and was documented in multiple photos and videos.
Photos from Vuhlehirsk by Pierre Crom:
Photos by Vasiliy Maximov, also from Vuhlehirsk:
Alexandr Ermochenko, Debaltseve, February 19:
The video published by pro-Russian separatists on February 18 (claiming February 14 as the date of events, near Debaltseve):
The report by Russian Channel 1 on February 18:
The crews of the armor with white squares near Debaltseve are very peculiar: many of them include men of Asian ethnicity (photos by Andrey Borodulin):
And they are equipped with modern Russian small arms:
After the Ukrainian Army withdrew from Debaltseve, and the town was captured, on February 21 another video was uploaded. It was shot in the settlement of Yuzhnokommunarsk, near Yenakiieve. It shows a convoy of tanks (T-72B of 1984 and 1989 models), IFVs, MT-LB, and trucks with the same white square markings traveling south:
The location of the video:
In early March, besides the high profile article by Novaya Gazeta about Dorzhi Batomunkuyev, the tank crewman of the 5th Separate Tank Brigade hospitalized in Donetsk burn center, other interesting bits of information started popping up: the soldiers of the 5th STBr started uploading photos with tanks, army trucks, and fuel trucks with squares painted over or wiped out in the same spots as on the military vehicles observed in Makiivka, Yuzhnokommunarsk, Vuhlehirsk, and Debaltseve.
Later many of the photos were deleted, but all of them are still available in archived pages.
The VKontakte profile of Viktor Vtorushin:
T-72B tank, model 1984, with painted over square markings:
The archive of the VKontakte page: https://archive.today/mMbUp
The original photo: https://pp.vk.me/c622523/v622523083/1b514/03SMSvMRh2U.jpg
The photo with a tank with the thermal jacket of the gun damaged by bullets or shrapnel. Vtorushin is wearing an unmarked uniform.
The archive of the page: https://archive.today/D2sK7
The original photo: https://pp.vk.me/c622523/v622523083/1b528/C3-Dn0rjFD8.jpg
The archive of the page: https://archive.today/oeuSB
The original photo: https://pp.vk.me/c625418/v625418083/24d69/9eK6OGCyjM8.jpg
The chevron of the 5th Separate Guards Tatsin, Order of the Red Banner, Order of Suvorov Brigade can be found on the Internet:
Also, Viktor Vtorushin’s profile lists Ulan-Ude, the base location of the 5th STBr, as his native city:
The VKontakte profile of Damdin Sambayev.
Damdin Sambaev is subscribed to the group called “5th STBr, m/u 46108”
His photo with the chevron of the 5th STBr:
The archive of the page: https://archive.today/JDFtv
The original photo: https://pp.vk.me/c621816/v621816319/12695/BoaPCsL53_k.jpg
Damdin Sambaev is a crewman of the number 540 tank:
The archive of the page: https://archive.today/7EEcy
The archive of another VK page: https://archive.today/RpgTr
The photo against an army truck, which has the discernible spot where a square was wiped out:
The archive of the VK page: https://archive.today/9zIXd
The original photo: https://pp.vk.me/c621816/v621816319/12682/ucfFaoh8Sfo.jpg
The photo of a tank with square markings painted over:
The archive of the VK page: https://archive.today/TLyv5
The original photo: https://pp.vk.me/c621816/v621816319/12720/t2kGTCNaL9M.jpg
The same vehicles were seen in Donbas in February:
The VKontakte page of Maxim Maximov.
The photos of a T-72B tank, model 1984, with painted over square markings, taken from that page:
The archive of the page: https://archive.today/AqBCX
The original photo: https://pp.vk.me/c623624/v623624329/24d19/SClf8_SqZnY.jpg
The archive of the VK page: https://archive.today/TcvPr
The original photo: https://pp.vk.me/c623624/v623624329/24d20/yX1nlBsn07I.jpg
In his profile, Maxim Maximov states that he lives in Ulan-Ude and served in the 2nd battalion of the 5th STBr in 2012-2013:
Maxim Maximov still serves there, based on the recent photos of the painted tanks and the photos in uniform with 5th STBr chevrons taken in the summer of 2014:
The archive of the VK page: https://archive.today/5NKm3
The original photo: https://pp.vk.me/c614931/v614931750/f7dd/v15rDkEb-8Y.jpg
The VKontakte page of Bairka Dondokov.
The photo against a fuel truck with painted over white squares:
The archive of the VK page: https://archive.today/crrtK
The original photo: https://pp.vk.me/c625327/v625327939/22371/V_-tX79-HwE.jpg
The same trucks were present in Donbas:
The photo of Dondokov in uniform with the 5th STBr chevron in Ulan-Ude on March 21, 2015:
The archive of the VK page: https://archive.today/GsXPp
The original photo: https://pp.vk.me/c624531/v624531939/2492e/VrF6STOQG0s.jpg
The VKontakte profile of Namzhil Sangadiyev.
The photo in an army truck with the wiped out square marking:
The archive of the VK page: https://archive.today/gxucW
The original photo: https://pp.vk.me/c622817/v622817442/1eb03/vYMuub1Dk48.jpg
The geotag of the photo points at Neklinovskiy Rayon of Rostov Oblast:
The contact information shows Ulan-Ude – the base location of the 5th STBr:
The VKontakte profile of Mikhail Nelyubin.
On the main page Nelyubin stated that he had been on a trip of some kind:
There is a photo of Nelyubin in a uniform with the chevron of the 5th STBr:
The archive of the VK page: https://archive.today/byssN
The original photo: https://pp.vk.me/c621927/v621927953/6a21/N3xR4x9Y86k.jpg
Here is the most interesting part: both Nelybin and Vtorushin, both wearing unmarked uniforms, took photos with a tank that has a distinctive feature in addition to the shrapnel-damaged gun: on the left hand side, the third from the gun brick of reactive armor is positioned higher than the others and is slightly flattened:
The archive of the page: https://archive.today/kDGuG
The original photo: https://pp.vk.me/c622028/v622028953/2157e/oXnc9PAROSk.jpg
The tank with the same distinctive feature was photographed in February near Debaltseve by Pierre Crom, Alexandr Ermochenko, and Vasiliy Maximov:
Considering all of the above, there is more than enough evidence proving the participation of the 5th STBr in the fighting for Debaltseve.
Reprinted with permission from http://sled-vzayt.livejournal.com/2099.html.
Translated by Max Alginin.