Conducting the OSINT activities aimed at detection and identification the Russian servicemen involved by the military command of the Russian Federation in carrying out combat missions against Ukraine, the InformNapalm international community’s volunteers revealed anti-aircraft gunners from the 21st separate motorized rifle brigade, who had passed through the so-called ‘Rostov-Ukrainian assignment’. It is interesting that in this identification we were helped by the representatives of the Russian defense industry, which successfully unveiled the military unit’s equipment deployed to Rostov Oblast from Orenburg.
The study of open sources and geolocation investigation near the base camp of the aimed at Ukraine Russian troops in the vicinity of the ‘Kuzminskiy’ training range (near Chkalov farm, Myasnikovsky raion, Rostov Oblast) resulted in discovering of a photo of a civilian standing in front of a white pick-up truck having 4 ‘Tor’ anti-aircraft missile system in the background. The picture was uploaded to the album of some Dmitry Torkhov (archive of profile, album, contacts) on February 5, 2016. Dmitry is an employee of a maintenance and repair team from ‘Kupol’ [Dome] electromechanical plant in Izhevsk (Russia), where the abovementioned anti-aircraft complexes are repaired. This is evidenced by notes on pages of Torkhov’s few friends and colleagues. For example, his partner Dmitry Ozhegov has photos of the same ‘Nissan’ vehicle, and there are plenty of colleagues from JSC ‘Kupol’ in his contact list.
Note: The 'Kupol' plant is a Russian research and development enterprise located in Izhevsk. It is one of the biggest plants of the Russian defense industry and is included in the JSC 'Almaz-Antey' Concern as one of the main manufactures of 'Tor-M2E' anti-aircraft complexes.
Presence of ‘Tor’ systems means presence of their crews. Thus, the InformNapalm reconnoiterers focused efforts on finding and identification of these crews’ members. The deep research of social profiles of the Russian servicemen spotted near ‘Kuzminskiy’ training range resulted in finding a soldier assigned from Orenburg, who uploaded a geotagged photo from October 21, 2015 (the geotags of the ‘Kupol’ plant representative and the 21st brigade’s soldier were almost exact).
Note: the 21st separate guards (heavy) motorized rifle brigade (military unit No. 12128, Totskoye, Orenburg Oblast, Russia) consists of: command unit, 3 motorized rifle battalions, 2 armored battalions, 2 self-propelled howitzer divisions, anti-aircraft division, recon battalion, drone company, engineer battalion, NBC protection company, supply company, signals battalion, training company, electronic warfare company, commandant's service company, medic company. Unit's equipment: x84 T-72B3/BA tanks, x132 BMP APCs, x6 BM-21 'Grad' units, x36 2S19 'Msta-S' 152mm guns, x12 2S34 'Khosta' 122mm SP guns, x12 9P149 'Shturm-S' SP anti-tank missile systems, x12 9A331 'Tor-M1' units, x6 9A34(35) 'Strela-10' AA units, x8 2S6M 'Tunguska' AA complexes, x27 9K38 'Igla' AA systems.
The assigned person appeared to be Evgeny Snigirev (archive of profile, album, contacts), a serviceman from the anti-aircraft division of the 21st separate motorized rifle brigade (military unit No. 12128, Central Military District, Totskoye, Orenburg Oblast).
In the result of studying the contacts of our figurant, we were able to identify the anti-aircraft gunners from Orenburg, which have passed through the ‘Ukrainian assignment’:
- Anton Levchenkov – a contract gunner from the 21st brigade. He has 3 pages in the VK network (archives on profile 1, 2, 3; album 1, 2, 3; contacts 1, 2, 3). There are not many photos in Anton’s albums, but still they represent the chronology of his assignment in the fall-winter of 2015: deployment to Rostov Oblast, ‘visiting’ Donbas, returning to Orenburg in December of 2015 and the well-earned rest (with ‘storm of emotions‘ as he says in one of the comments). There are plenty of reasons for emotions – the gunners from Orenburg lived in a strictly regulated base camp in Rostov Oblast, tried to be ‘Novorossiya’ militants, tasted the ‘smell of freedom’ in Donbas where they did not have to wear formal outfit and shave.
- Ilnur Sadykov – a contract soldier from the same 21st brigade. This is his profile in VK (archives of profile, album, contacts). Sadykov boasts with his pictures from Donbas the most.
- Eduard Kozhukhov – a contract AA gunner from the 21st brigade. This is his profile in VK (archives of profile, album, contacts). There are not many pictures, but they are pretty meaningful.
- Anton Lapytov – a contract AA gunner from the 21st brigade. This is his profile in VK (archives of profile, album, contacts). The group photo in the base camp after returning from the mission and a selfie in an industrial building from October seem to be made in Donbas.
- Eduard Aflyatunov – a contract AA gunner from the 21st brigade. This is his profile in VK (archives of profile, album, contacts). He has photos from the base camp in Rostov Oblast which show Lapytov and Levchenkov. And, of course, here we can seethe photo of the certificate ‘for maintaining of high combat readiness’, signed by major-general I. Seritsky (the commander of the 2nd army) and issued on December 26, 2015.
- Alfred Kuznetsov – a contract AA gunner from the 21st brigade (might be retired or transferred to militants). This is his profile in VK (archives of profile, album, contacts). Alfred also has photos taken during his recent service in the air defense forces. Besides that, there are several pictures of him in militant’s cloths and with husky puppy (known from last year thanks to the trip of the 5th armored brigade).
- Sergei Silchenko – a contract AA gunner from the 21st brigade (might be retired or transferred to militants). This is his profile in VK (archives of profile, album, contacts). Just a couple of pictures showing him as a militant can be found in his album. It seems that there is no anything that could discredit this Russian soldier. But Sergei forgot to clear up his contact list which contains a dozen of his brothers-in-arms from the Russian 21st brigade. The pictures from Donbas show us the faces from above.
You should also pay attention to other Russian gunners from Orenburg, which in one way or another are connected with the above mentioned persons and presumably also took part in the ‘Rostov-Ukrainian assignment’:
- Ivan Valerievich (archives of profile, contacts)
- Aza Iskindir (archives of profile, contacts)
- Arman Isenov (archives of profile, contacts)
- Almat Pshtaev (archives of profile, contacts)
- Konstantin Semenov (archives of profile, contacts)
- Aleksandr Grigoryev (archives of profile, contacts)
- Artur Kutuev (archives of profile, contacts)
- Иван Кузьмин (archives of profile, contacts)
As you can recall this is not the first the representatives of the Russian military industry help us in our investigations:
- St. Petersburg’s Military Repair Plant Prepares Equipment for the Invasion of Ukraine
- Maintainers from Ural at the front line. (RU)
Original article translated by Stepan Grishin