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82 artillerymen of the 291st Brigade carrying out Kremlin’s criminal orders in Ukraine (Infographics)

InformNapalm volunteer intelligence community continues publication of new evidence corroborating the participation of Russian artillerymen from the 291st Artillery Brigade (AB) in the Donbas war.

The shameful history of the 291st Artillery Brigade.

The 291st Artillery Brigade of the 58th Field Army (military unit 64670, Troitskaya village, Ingushetia), Southern Military District is probably the most notorious artillery unit of the Russian army: it has featured in numerous OSINT investigations. The 291st AB featured in 13 episodes of InformNapalm community investigations tracking the geography and chronology of events – shelling [1] of Ukrainian territory from Russia or invading the territory of Ukraine in summer and autumn 2014, which led to deaths of hundreds of Ukrainian citizens. Later on there were more Ukrainian [2] and also Syrian [3] deployments of the brigade’s personnel.

We thought that after this kind of exposure in OSINT investigations featuring dozens of names of the brigade’s servicemen, Russian military and security agencies would carry out a comprehensive clean-up of all the remaining traces. Nevertheless, another OSINT effort revealed 40 more artillerymen from the 291st AB, implicated in shelling of the Ukrainian territory in 2014. Thus, a new contrivance [4] of the Russian Ministry of Defense in the form of a draft law obliging Russian servicemen to report their Internet and social media activity will be as pointless as previous Russia’s attempts to hide the truth.

General analysis of social media profiles and photo albums

The photos of the featured artillerymen from the 291st AB show that they were mainly conscripts drafted in the fall of 2013 and serving in the howitzer battalion (2A65 Msta-B 152 mm howitzers) and rocket artillery battalion (BM-27 Uragan Multiple Rocket Launcher Systems). In summer 2014, they were redeployed to the areas close to the border with Ukraine in Rostov Oblast. Most of the relevant pictures were posted on social media accounts of the Brigade’s personnel from July to September 2014. The photos show hidden camps in borderline forests, and also “roving” firing positions of Russian artillery, mainly in Matveyevo-Kurgansky District of Rostov Oblast, Russia.

Many features on these photos suggest live combat deployment, rather than training: there are lots of camouflage means on already familiar howitzers with white blots, whereas servicemen in many pictures are spotting non-standard military uniform and informal appearance, which would have been hardly admissible in the formal training setup. In some pictures there are artillery pieces in combat formation with dozens of ammunition crates scattered around, a command post covered with a camouflage net, artillery towing vehicles and ammunition supply trucks, hidden in the forest.

This investigation is dedicated to the unit, which had already appeared on earlier InformNapalm investigations. We present here updated evidence of Russian artillerymen involvement in the shelling of Ukrainian territory, additional names of servicemen from the 291st Brigade who executed criminal orders of the Russian military and political leadership.

Infographics.

InformNapalm volunteer intelligence community has performed enormous work on identification of the Russian servicemen, who executed Kremlin’s criminal orders. All of our investigations are backed by visual evidence. Hundreds of aggressors have been identified already, and this job is in progress. Our aim is to identify each participant of this infamous war. Each revealed fact adds to the reputation of Russia as the aggressor state. The new infographics contain information not only about 40 subjects of this investigation, but also about 39 artillerymen from the same brigade, who were identified in previous investigations in the context of both Rostov – Ukraine (8) and Syria (31) deployments, including 9 “awardees”. We are also providing background data on the 291st AB structure and armament, its commanders – colonel Sergey Kazakov, who was in command in 2014, and lieutenant-colonel Alexey Smelov, who has been in command of the brigade since 2016 (see detailed info below).

[5]

(click the picture or follow this link [5] to view the infographics)

Note from InformNapalm: A few days after this publication appeared in Ukrainian and Russian, InformNapalm established the identity of another contract serviceman of the 291th AB who is currently on another deployment with the illegal armed groups of the Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR). Read more in the new investigation [6] and see the updated Infographics [7] .

Identified servicemen of the 291st AB involved in shelling of Ukraine.

  1. Alexey Korshunov 

Born November 28, 1993, in Pochinki village, Nizhny Novgorod Oblast. Drafted [8] for conscript service with the Russian Army in late autumn 2013. After several months of training at the 681st Regional Training Center (military unit 43533, Mulino), he was allocated to the 291st AB, from which he was discharged in late November 2014. Nowadays, he is an agricultural college student. Cell phone: +789506175687 Accounts on social networks: VK [9] (archived profile [10], photos [11], contacts [12]).

Korshunov’s photo album contains a photo series from his conscript service period with the 291st AB, including the pictures uploaded in November 2014 and reflecting the Rostov deployment of his unit. The photos show the brigade’s servicemen hiding in the woodlands in the borderline areas of Ukraine, and also on firing positions in August and September. The pictures from the same series could be found in the photo albums of other subjects of our investigations, this helped us establish the timeline of filming.

  1. Igor Solenikov

Born April, 19,1994, in Khadyzhensk city, Apsheron District, Krasnodar Krai. Drafted for conscript service with the Russian Army in December 2013. Accounts on social networks: VK [13] (archived profile [14], photos [15], contacts [16]), ОК [17].

Solenikov’s album contains photo series from his conscript service period with the 291st AB, including the “barbecue party” pictures, uploaded on September 14, 2014. We could establish that these photos belong to the Rostov deployment period of his unit, which was hiding in the border areas of Ukraine (pictures from the same series have been found in the photo albums of other subjects of this investigation).

  1. Dmitriy Chernikov

Place of birth: Kharp settlement, Priuralsky District, Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous Okrug. Drafted for conscript service with the Russian Army in the second half of 2013. Accounts on social networks: VK [18] (archived profile [19], photos [20], contacts [21]).

Chernikov’s photo album contains photo series from his conscript service period in the 291st AB, particularly the Rostov deployment pictures of his unit in the borderline woodlands contain the pictures from the same “barbecue party”, uploaded on September 14, 2014 (pictures from the same series have been found in photo albums of other subjects of this investigation), and also the pictures from the same deployment, uploaded later.

  1. Daulet Abatov

Born April, 29,1995, in Sol-Iletsk city, Orenburg Oblast. Drafted for conscript service with the Russian Army in autumn 2013. Accounts on social networks: VK [22] (archives profile [23], photos [24], contacts [25]).

Abatov’s photo album contains numerous photos from his conscript service period with the 291st AB, including the Rostov deployment period with the photos of firing positions uploaded in August and September 2014 (pictures from the same series have been found in photo albums of other subjects of this investigation) and later similar photos.

 

  1. Ivan Zherebtsov, aka “Bogdan Gromov”

Born February 01 (year of birth not yet established), in Orenburg. Drafted for conscript service with the Russian Army in autumn 2013. Accounts on social networks: VK [26]1 (archived profile [27], photos [28], contacts [29]), Instagram [30].

Zherebtsov’s album contains few photos from his conscript service period in the 291st AB, but it contains pictures taken during the Rostov deployment and the familiar “barbecue party”. Some images were uploaded from August to September 2014, and a couple of nostalgia pictures were uploaded in 2015 and 2016.

In general, Zherebtsov’s photo album is pretty scarce, he has been seen in photos of other subjects: Solenikov (#2), Chernikov (#3) and Abatov (#4).

Moreover, Zherebtsov turned out to be a bit of an internet celebrity – he with his comrade Vadim Grigoriev (subject #6) earned some notoriety [31] in summer 2014. In July, both soldiers posted photos [32] with artillery convoys on the move, firing positions in the borderline areas and a video [33] of Uragan MRLS barrage with the comment “we were pounding Ukraine all night”. Both Ukrainian and Russian media [34] noticed Zherebtsov’s episode. If you click the link to Zherebtsov’s profile in our 2014 publication as, you will land on the profile of “Bogdan Gromov”. This is the new renamed and much cleaned-up version of Zherebtsov’s notorious VK2 [35] account (archived profile [36]photos [37]contacts [38]) which had served as an invaluable source for information.

  1. Vadim Grigoriev

Born September 30 (year of birth not yet established), in Samara. Drafted for conscript service with the Russian Army in autumn 2013. Accounts on social networks: VK [39] (archived profile [40], photos [41], contacts [42]). The second Grigoriev’s account [43], which had served a vaulable source of information about the 291st AB, Rostov-Ukraine deployment has been deleted altogether.

The current Grigoriev’s album contains next to no evidence about the events from July to September 2014. It is worth recalling the video published on Kotofeich ᵞᵒᵘᵗᵘᵇᵉʳ [44] video portal on July, 27, 2014. It provides an interesting glimpse into Russia’s plausible denial techniques, especially the Russia 24 story, in the style “I’m not to blame, for I wasn’t game”.

  1. Roman Khammatov

Born on September 14,1995, in Ufa. Drafted for conscript service with the Russian Army in December 2013. Accounts on social networks: VK [45] (archives profile [46], photos [47], contacts [48]).

Khammatov’s album has little evidence on his service with the 291st AB, the circle of his friends is very small and does not contain any comrades in arms. But his participation in Rostov-Ukraine deployment in 2014 was given away by the group photo [49] of artillerymen in masks, posted in August 2014. InformNapalm published [50] some pictures of this series back in December 2015. These pictures of soldiers shelling the Ukrainian territory (posted in September 2014), were detected on the page of Ilnur Aflyatunov, another artilleryman from 291st AB.

  1. Nursultan Sagynalyiev

He served in the Russian Army as a conscript in 2013 and 2014. Accounts on social networks: VK1 [51] (archived profile [52], photos [53], contacts [54]), VK2 [55] (archived profile [56], photos [57], contacts [58]). Both pages have been inactive since 2014.

There is not so much information in Sagynalyiev’s accounts, but his picture with the 291th AB howitzer in combat position, points to his participation in Rostov-Ukraine deployment 2014.

 

  1. Sergey Khomutov

Born June 22,1994, in Rostov-on-Don. Drafted for conscript service with the Russian Army in autumn 2013. At the present time he serves as a contract soldier, allegedly in the 22nd Special Operations Brigade of GRU (military unit 11659, stationed in Bataysk city and Stepnoy city, Rostov Oblast). Accounts on social networks: VK [59] (archived profile [60], photos [61], contacts [62]).

Khomutov’s album contains few photos, associated with the service with the 291st AB, but there are some pictures, known to InformNapalm investigations from 2014 [63] and 2015 [64]. These are photos uploaded in 2015 with a Msta-B howitzer shelling Ukrainian territory. On Khomutov’s pictures, there are his colleagues who featured in other investigations of InformNapalm: Abatov (#4), Zherebtsov (#5) and Grigoriev (#6).

  1. Nikolay Rusakov

Born November 30,1993, in Dimitrovgrad city, Ulyanovsk Oblast. He did his conscript military service in the Russian Army in 2013-2014. Accounts on social networks: VK [65] (archived profile [66], photos [67], contacts [68]).

Rusakov’s album contains a series of pictures uploaded in August and September 2014. It shows the 291st AB artillerymen hiding guerrilla-style in the borderline woodlands and the familiar “barbecue party”.

 

  1. Basang Purveyev

Born February 12,1988, in Malye Derbety village, Kalmykia. As of 2014 he was a contract soldier with the 291st AB. Accounts on social networks: VK [69]1 (archived profile [70], photos [71], contacts [72]), VK2 [73].

Purveyev’s photo album contains several pictures, uploaded in August 2014, including the ones with the 291st AB artillerymen in the borderline woodlands. Also, his colleague Chernikov (#4) has been detected on one of those photos.

  1. Azamat Besikinov 

Born on April 15,1994 in Krasnodar. He did his conscript military service in the Russian Army in 2013-2014. Accounts on social networks: VK [74] (archived profile [75], photos [76], contacts [77]).

Besikinov’s album contains pictures, uploaded in October 2014, including photos of firing positions of the 291st AB artillery, aimed at the Ukrainian territory.

 

  1. Artem Kazimagomedov

Born May 07,1994, in Anapa. Drafted for conscript service with the Russian Army in spring 2014. He served in the control platoon of the 2nd howitzer battalion. Accounts on social networks: VK [78] (archives profile [79], photos [80], contacts [81]).

In Kazimagomedov’s album there are no pictures, directly indicating his participation in the 291st AB combat deployment. But our attention was drawn to a group photo [82] uploaded in October 2014. In that photo, it was possible to identify some servicemen, associated with the Rostov-Ukraine deployment 2014. The man in the camouflage T-shirt once appeared in Chernikov’s (#3) album with a Nissan Pathfinder SUV (plate number М861УМ/05RUS) in the background. Also in his album, there are pictures in front of the anchor monument, which is located [83] in Matveyevo-Kurgansky District, Rostov Oblast, near the Ukrainian border.

  1. Aslan Yusupkhadzhiev 

Born in 1977, in Urus-Martan, Chechnya. As of 2014 he was a contract soldier with the 291st AB. Accounts on social networks: VK [84] (archived profile [85], photos [86], contacts [87]), OK [88].

Although the information in the Yusupkhadzhiev’s profile is scant, we noticed the picture [89] with the familiar SUV in the background posted in November 2014. In the background, there are concealed KamAZ trucks and crates with artillery rounds. The picture is geotagged to the borderline village of Fedorovskoye, Neklinovsky District, Rostov Oblast. Moreover, Yusupkhadzhiev has been spotted on the photos of other servicemen of the 291st AB who took part in the combat deployment in 2014, particularly in the albums of Chernikov (#3) and Kazimagomedov (#13). Among Yusupkhadzhiev’s friends, we detected a recovered and cleaned-up account [90] of another investigation subject Danil Khizhnyak which had been analyzed in detail in our publication [1] of December 11, 2015. In other profile of this Chechen contract soldier we found a picture uploaded on May 12, 2017. In this picture, Yusupkhadzhiev is posing with Russian senior officers (presumably during May 9 parade in Grozny city, Chechnya).

  1. Said Gvashev

Born November 07,1993, in Sochi city. As of 2014 he was a conscript soldier of the 291st AB. Accounts on social networks: VK [91] (archived profile [92], photos [93], contacts [94]).

Gvashev’s album does not contain any pictures from the combat deployment of 2014, but the photos with the anchor monument in Matveyevo-Kurgansky District, Rostov Oblast, and also with the contract soldier Yusupkhadzhiev with the familiar SUV in the background (uploaded in October 2014 and February 2015) link him to that deployment.

  1. Roman Pereverzev 

Born July 11,1994, in Belaya Glina village, Krasnodar Krai. As of 2014 he was a conscript soldier of the 291st AB. Accounts on social networks: VK [95] (archived profile [96], photos [97], contacts [98]).

In Pereverzev’s album we found pictures uploaded from August to October 2014, showing the combat deployment period, including photos of the field camp in the borderline area with Ukraine (in the background there are clearly visible vehicles concealed between the trees), there are also photos of convoys on the march and pictures of returning to garrison.

 

  1. Radion Gumerov

Born April 12 1991, in Tazovsky settlement, Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous Okrug Drafted for conscript service with the Russian Army in autumn 2013, served in 4th howitzer battalion of the 291st AB. Accounts on social networks: VK [99] (archived profile [100], photos [101], contacts [102]).

Although Gumerov’s album does not contain any pictures clearly indicating his participation in the Rostov-Ukraine deployment of 2014, he was recognized on a photo dated August 2014 from the album of Pereverzev (#16).

  1. Alexander Vanuito 

Born April 29,1993, in Tyumen city. Drafted for conscript service with the Russian Army in November 2013. Accounts on social networks: VK [103] (archived profile [104], photos [105], contacts [106]).

Vanuito’s album contains pictures from the combat deployment of the 291st AB uploaded from July to October 2014, including group photos [107] from the firing positions of howitzers shelling the Ukrainian territory.

Vanuito’s autumn photo series featured in the InformNapalm publication [63] of November 12, 2014. Back then, we focused not on specific personnel, but on identifying Russian military units involved in the war in Donbas.

  1. Artem Agapov

Born May 28,1993 in Krasnodar. Drafted for conscript service with the Russian Army in autumn 2013. He served in the control platoon of the 2nd howitzer battalion. In the end of 2015 he . applied [108] for contract military service in the 291st AB. Accounts on social networks: VK [109] (archived profile [110], photos [111], contacts [112]).

Agapov’s album contains pictures from Rostov Oblast uploaded in September and October 2014, which indirectly confirm his participation in the 291st AB combat deployment.

 

  1. Anton Vlasov

Born August 16, 1994, in Perm city. Drafted for conscript service with the Russian Army in autumn 2013. Accounts on social networks: VK [113] (archived profile [114], photos [115], contacts [116]).

From July to September 2014 Vlasov posted a series of photos from the borderline areas in Rostov Oblast and the “barbecue party” of the Russian artillerymen, as well as group photos [117] with other participants of the 291st AB combat deployment, with already identified Gvashev (#15) among others.

  1. Sergey Netelev

Born October 09, 1994, in Krasnodar. As of 2014 he was a conscript soldier with the 291st AB. Accounts on social networks: VK [118] (archived profile [119], photos [120], contacts [121]).

Although Netelev’s album contains no photos from the combat deployment 2014, and his pictures from the period of his conscript service uploaded in January 2016 are not very informative, we managed to identify him on group photos from the album of Vlasov (#20, center, with a phone), as well as Said Gvashev (#15). Also among Netelev’s friends there are other artillerymen of the 291st AB, including Roman Pereverzev, identified earlier (#16).

  1. Semen Ivanov 

Born January 17 (year of birth not yet established), in Irkutsk city. As of 2014 he was a conscript soldier with the 291st AB. Accounts on social networks: VK [122] (archived profile [123], photos [124], contacts [125]).

Although Ivanov’s album contains no photos from the combat deployment 2014, we managed to identify him (second from the left) on the group photo [107] from the album of Vanuito (#18, with a token on the chest). The subject of previous investigation, Khizhnyak was identified on Ivanov’s pictures.

 

  1. Ivan Zezik 

Born May 10, 1993, in Irkutsk city. As of 2014 he was a conscript soldier with the 291st AB. Accounts on social networks: VK [126] (archived profile [127], photos [128], contacts [129]).

Although Zezik’s album contains almost no evidence of his participation in the military deployment of 2014, we identified him (first on the left) in the group photo [107] in the field from the album of subject Vanuito (#18, with a token on the chest). Also on the photo we identified Ivanov (#22, second from the left) and the main character of the previous investigation Khizhnyak (center).

 

  1. Dmitriy Kirshin 

Born July 15, 1991, in Irkutsk city. As of 2014 he was a conscript soldier with the 291st AB. Accounts on social networks: V [130]K [130] (archived profile [131], photos [132], contacts [133]), OK [134] (archived profile [135], photos [136], contacts [137]).

In both accounts of Kirshin, there are numerous photos confirming his participation in the Rostov-Ukraine deployment of 2014 as an artilleryman of the 291st AB. The photos were uploaded from September to November 2014, they show artillery in the field firing positions shelling Ukrainian territory, pictures of the guerilla-style life of the artillerymen in the Rostov forests, snapshots of various weaponry, from the Msta-B towed howitzer and Akatsiya self-propelled howitzers to Smerch and Uragan MRLS.

  1. Oleg Kovalev

Born in 1995 (full date of birth not yet established), in Mikhaylovo-Aleksandrovka village, Rostov Oblast. As of 2014 he was a conscript soldier with the 291st AB. Accounts on social networks: OK [138] (archives profile [139], photos [140], contacts [141]).

In Kovalev’s album, there are few photos from the service with the 291st AB, even less from the combat deployment period. However he is given away by a picture [142] of a combat award, a medal For Military Valor, which Kovalev was awarded on the basis of the order of the Russian Minister of Defense # 677 of October 2, 2014. The award certificate is signed by military unit #64670 commander, colonel Sergey Kazakov.

  1. Denis Nazarenko aka “Sergey Novik”

Born on December 5 (year of birth not yet established), in Slavyansk-on-Kuban city, Krasnodar Krai. As of 2014 he was a conscript soldier with the 291st AB. Since 2015 – contract serviceman of one of military units of Southern Military District. Accounts on social networks: VK [143] (archives profile [144], photos [145], contacts [146]).

Nazarenko’s account under the nickname of Sergey Novik (1 [147] and 2 [148]) contains numerous photos confirming his participation in the Rostov-Ukraine deployment of 2014 as an artilleryman of the 291st AB. The photos were uploaded from July to Octomber 2014, and contain photos of artillery in the field firing positions shelling Ukrainian territory, pictures of the guerilla-style life of the artillerymen in the Rostov forests, snapshots of various weaponry, from the Msta-B towed howitzers and Akatsiya self-propelled howitzers to Smerch MRLS. Nazarenko’s album also contains some photos, similar to those of Rusakov (#10).

  1. Sergey Morozov

Born January 17 (year of birth not yet established), in Krymsk city, Krasnodar Krai. As of 2014 he was a conscript soldier with the 291st AB. Accounts on social networks: VK [149] (archived profile [150], photos [151], contacts [152]).

In Morozov’s sparse album there are few photos of his service period with the 291st AB, all of them uploaded in 2016, and not a single hint of participation in the Rostov-Ukraine deployment 2014. But he is linked to the deployment by the photos from the album of his comrade Nazarenko (#26), in particular the photo [148] from October 2, 2014 captioned: “Do not act like them. They mess up our team — 1. Morozov S.S., 2. Nazarenko D.V., Gumerov E.Yu.” (apparently, Morozov and others had discipline issues during the deployment). Morozov was also identified on a group photo [153] from Nazarenko’s album posted on August 27, 2014, among the “guerilla-artillerymen” (first from the left in the bottom row).

  1. Eduard Gumerov 

Born August 14, 1994, in Noyabrsk city, Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous Okrug. As of 2014 he was a conscript soldier with the 291st AB, presumably in the artillery reconnaissance battery. Accounts on social networks: VK [154] (archived profile [155], photos [156], contacts [157]), ОК [158].

In Gumerov’s sparse album there are few photos of his service period in the 291st AB; they were uploaded in 2014 and then in 2017, none of them indicating participation in the Rostov-Ukraine deployment of 2014. But he is linked to the deployment by the photos from the album of his comrade Nazarenko (#26), in particular the photo [148] from October 2, 2014 captioned: “Do not act like them. They mess up our team — 1. Morozov S.S., 2. Nazarenko D.V., Gumerov E.Yu”.

  1. Ruslan Boyko 

Born November 06,1992, in Krasnoselkup village, Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous Okrug. As of 2014 he was a conscript soldier with the 291st AB. Accounts on social networks: VK [159] (archived profile [160], photos [161], contacts [162]).

In Boyko’s album, there are numerous photos confirming his participation in the Rostov-Ukraine deployment 2014 as artilleryman of the 291st AB. These pictures were posted in July 2014. They mainly show the convoy on the move, and there is also a photo [163] of “guerilla artillerymen” in the Rostov woodlands, which allowed us to identify a few more of Boyko’s colleagues.

  1. Nikita Patrushev

Born February 28,1993, in Levokumskoye village, Stavropol Krai. As of 2014 he was a conscript soldier with the 291st AB. Accounts on social networks: VK [164] (archives profile [165], photos [166], contacts [167]).

Patrushev’s photo album contains a lot of pictures uploaded from July to December 2014, which clearly show the Rostov-Ukraine deployment of 2014. The photo series includes summer photos of the convoy on the move, a makeshift checkpoint, as well as December pictures from Novocherkassk (Ascension Cathedral) and Taganrog (monument to Peter the Great). In addition, he was identified (first from the right) in a group photo of “guerilla artillerymen” from the album of Boyko (#29), which was uploaded on July 27, 2014.

 

  1. Maga Timurziyev aka “Alexey Nagliy (Russian for “Impudent”)

Born February 10, 1994, in Ust-Labinsk city, Krasnodar Krai. As of 2014 he was a conscript soldier with the 291st AB. Accounts on social networks: VK1 [168] (archived profile [169], photos [170]), VK2 [171] (archived profile [172], photos [173], contacts [174]).

Timurziev’s album contains a photo series from his conscript service period in the 291st AB, however there are no pictures from his combat deployment of 2014. However, he was identified (in the center, in blue T-shirt) in a group photo of “guerilla artillerymen” from the album of Boyko (#29), which was uploaded on July 27, 2014.

  1. Igor Elyasov

Born on November 02,1993, in Biysk city, Altai Krai. As of 2014 he was a conscript soldier with the 291st AB. Accounts on social networks: VK [175] (archived profile [176], photos [177], contacts [178]).

In Elyasov’s photo album there is a photo series from his conscript service period in the 291st AB, including the familiar group picture [179] from the album of Boyko (#29). The picture dates to the time of the group’s combat deployment in 2014, but Elyasov for some reason posted it much later – on July 17, 2015 (Elyasov is second from the left).

  1. Andrey Onofrey

From Noyabrsk city, Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous Okrug. As of 2014 he was a conscript soldier with the 291st AB. Accounts on social networks: VK [180] (archived profile [181], photos [182], contacts [183]).

In his sparse album he keeps several photos of his service period in the brigade in Ingushetia, as well as a night photo in camouflage suit in the forest posted in September, 2014. In addition, he was identified on the familiar group photo of “guerilla artillerymen” in the album of Boyko (#29), which was posted on July 26, 2014 (fist from the left).

  1. Mikhail Kapitonov

Born November 22, 1995, in Gukovo, Rostov Oblast. As of 2014 he was a conscript soldier with the 291st AB. Accounts on social networks: VK [184] (archived profile [185], photos [186], contacts [187]).

Kapitonov’s album is rather sparse, but we identified him on the picture [188] uploaded on September 6, 2014 in Rusakov’s (#10) profile with three “guerrilla artillerymen” posing in the forest.

 

 

  1. Vyacheslav Usenko 

Born May 27, 1994, in Chkalovsk, Nizhny Novgorod Oblast. As of autumn 2014 he was a conscript soldier with the 291st AB, presumably in the control platoon of the 2nd artillery battalion. Accounts on social networks: VK [189] (archived profile [190], photos [191], contacts [192]).

Usenko’s album contains numerous photos from his conscript service period in the 291st AB, some of them from his combat deployment of 2014, they were uploaded from September to November 2014.

 

  1. Svyatoslav Karpov 

Born July 21, 1991, in Tyumen city. As of 2014 he was a conscript soldier with the 291st AB. Accounts on social networks: VK [193] (archived profile [194], photos [195], contacts [196]).

Karpov’s album contains very few photos from the period of his service with the 291st AB, and there is no direct evidence of his participation in the Rostov-Ukraine deployment, except for a few photos of a soldier with shaved head uploaded in August 2014. But it bears remembering the InformNapalm publication [50]from December 2015 which dealt at length with the shaven-headed artillerymen of the brigade and KamAZ trucks sheltered in the forest near the border with Ukraine.

  1. Alexander Belozerov

Born January 28, 1988, in Alekseevsk, Amur Oblast. As of 2014 he was a conscript soldier with the 291st AB. Accounts on social networks: VK [197] (archived profile [198], photos [199], contacts [200]).

Belozerov’s album is quite informative and contains unique photos of the 291st AB artillerymen combat deployment in the summer and autumn 2014. These are photos from the firing positions of the howitzer artillery shelling Ukrainian territory, and pictures of a later period made on “guerrilla-style bases” in the Rostov Oblast uploaded from August to October 2014.

  1. Ilshat Bayramov

Born in Lagerevo village, Republic of Bashkortostan. As of 2014 he was a conscript soldier with the 291st AB. Accounts on social networks: VK [201] (archived profile [202], photos [203], contacts [204]).

In Bayramov’s album, there are many photos of the service in the 291st AB, but not a single one from the combat deployment period. However, he is linked to it by the picture [205] of a combat award – a Medal For Distinction in Combat.

  1. Andrey Ivanov

Born on March 01 (year of birth not yet established), in Zelenodolsk city, Tatarstan. As of 2014 he was a conscript soldier with the 291st AB, 2nd artillery battalion. Accounts on social networks: VK [206] (archived profile [207], photos [208], contacts [209]).

In Kazimagomedov’s album there are notable pictures directly indicating his participation in the brigade’s combat deployment. In particular, these are the photos [210] uploaded in November 2015, including a picture with the shaven-headed artillerymen of the 291st AB published [50] by InformNapalm in December 2015. In this photo taken in the summer of 2014, Ivanov is first from the right. The album also contains the group photo [211] of awarded soldiers, Ivanov wearing a Medal For Distinction in Combat is the third from the left on it.

  1. Alexander Bastin

Born July 30, 1993, in Dimitrovgrad city, Ulyanovsk Oblast. As of 2014 he was a conscript soldier with the 291st AB, presumably in the rocket artillery battalion. Accounts on social networks: VK1 [212] (archived profile [213]photos [214], contacts [215]),  VK2 [216] (archived profile [217]photos [218]contacts [219]),  VK3  [220](archived profile [221]photos [222]contacts [223]).

Bastin’s profiles contain numerous details indicating his participation in the 291st AB combat deployment of 2014. Among them, is the group photo [224] of artillerymen with the Uragan MRLS uploaded in November 2014 and familiar to us from the publication [225] of InformNapalm of June 2016 (Bastin is the third from the left in the upper row); a photo [226] in the truck cab posted in December 2014, where Bastin boasts Ukrainian hryvnias; photos from Novocherkassk (Ascension Cathedral) and Taganrog (Aviation Museum); the photo [227] from Rostov fields in November 2014.

Not all participants of Rostov-Ukraine combat deployment of 2014 from the 291st AB have been identified by us. This feature contains only those servicemen whose profiles contain direct or indirect evidence of their participation or those, who have been identified in the photos in their colleagues.

The brigade commanders

As of 2014, the commander of the 291st AB was colonel Sergei Vyacheslavovich Kazakov (links to sources 1 [228]2 [229]), whose signatures under award certificates to the medals for artillery “veterans” were recorded in our previous publications. Since April 2016, lieutenant-colonel Smelov Alexei Pavlovich (inks to sources 1 [230]2 [231]3 [232]) is in command of the brigade.

Background information

The 291st Artillery Brigade 

Military unit 64670, permanent station in Ingushetia, Troitskaya village. In the first half of 2011, the brigade was redeployed from Maykop (Adygea) to Ingushetia.

The unit is part of the 58th Field Army of the Southern Military District of the Russian Armed Forces. The assumed structure: 6 artillery battalions: a self-propelled artillery battalion, a self-propelled mortar battalion, a howitzer battalion, a rocket artillery battalion, an antitank artillery battalion, a reconnaissance battalion. Also a command battery, two logistics companies, an engineer platoon, an NBC protection platoon. Armament: 18 pcs. 2A65 Msta-B 152 mm howitzers, 8 pcs. Uragan MLRS, 6 pcs. Rapira 100 mm anti-tank guns, 18 pcs. 9M123 Khrizantema-S anti-tank missiles, 3pcs. PRP-4M armored reconnaissance vehicles and 2 pcs. AZK-7 automatic acoustic detecting systems. Since 2016 the brigade has taken delivery of [233] nuclear-capable heavy artillery: 12 pcs. 2S7M Malka 203 mm self-propelled guns and 8 pcs. 2S4 Tulpan 240 mm self-propelled mortars. Total personnel strength – about 600.

It bears reminding that this is not the first case of group identification of Russian artillerymen involved in the shelling of Ukraine. In November 2016, servicemen of the artillery battalion and the rocket artillery battery of the 7th Military Base (military unit 09332, Gudauta, occupied Abkhazia, Georgia) were identified – read more:21 of 35: Russian artillerymen of the 7th Military Base involved in shelling of Ukraine. identified [234]

Personnel of the 291st Artillery Brigade has been repeatedly spotted on Ukrainian and Syrian deployments, – this unit appears in 13 OSINT investigations of InformNapalm:

Databases of identified active Russian military personnel and evidence of their involvement in the fighting in Ukraine as part of the Russian hybrid forces are available here: https://informnapalm.org/en/category/top-investigations/ [241]

[242]

This publication was prepared by Irakli Komaxidze [243] on the basis of his own OSINT investigation specially for InformNapalm [244]. Infographics Alex Alexidze [245].

Translated by Evgeniy Kalashnik,  edited by Artem Velichko
(Creative Commons — Attribution 4.0 International — CC BY 4.0 [246])
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