InformNapalm international intelligence community continues identifying regular Russian servicemen who took part in the hybrid aggression against Ukraine. As of July 2021, InformNapalm has collected evidence against over 2,630 Russian soldiers and officers in its OSINT investigations database. Another investigation by the Georgian editorial team of InformNapalm adds new facts to these data.
On August 12, 2014, a convoy of Russian troops of 1,200 people, among whom servicemen from the 18th Motorized Rifle Brigade (MRB), entered Ukraine and in the afternoon of August 13 stopped in the town of Snizhne, Donetsk Oblast. On the same day, Ukrainian artillery struck the convoy. Of the 1200 people, the Russians lost 120 killed and 450 wounded (Novaya Gazeta 09/01/2014). Among those killed in action, were previously identified contract servicemen of the 18th MRB from Chechnya – Anton Tumanov and Robert Artyunyan (Arutyunyan).
The purpose of the new OSINT investigation is to identify Russian servicemen of the 18th MRB, who for almost 7 years could manage to hide their involvement in the “Ukrainian deployment”. Based on the results of this investigation, we could identify several military men of the Russian Army, including an officer, commander of the engineer platoon of the 1st Motorized Rifle Battalion, Alexander Smirnov. A group photograph of August 2014, in which 8 Russian servicemen with white identification armbands are posing against a BTR-82, helped to identify the next participants in the aggression against Ukraine. The original source of the photo was the social media page of the Russian contract soldier, a participant in those events, which was subsequently actively spread in the media and on social networks.
- Aleksandr Smirnov
Born 12/26/1984, in Kovernino village, Nizhny Novgorod Oblast.
Graduated from Nizhny Novgorod Higher Military Command School in the town of Kstovo in 2007.
- 2007-2008 platoon commander of the 539th Separate Engineer Battalion (military unit 55642, Khankala village, Chechnya).
- From 2008 to 2011 commander of the engineer platoon of the 1st Motorized Rifle Battalion of the 71st Motorized Rifle Regiment of the Motorized Rifle Division (military unit 98311, Khankala village / Kalinovskaya village, Chechnya).
- As of 2014, senior lieutenant, commander of the engineer platoon of the 1st Motorized Rifle Battalion of the 18th MRB (military unit 27777, Khankala village / Kalinovskaya village, Chechnya).
It is noteworthy that Smirnov appears under the #518 in the InformNapalm investigation List 1097 containing information about the participants in the invasion of Crimea.
- Mikhail Iskovich
Born 2/24/1985, in Petrozavodsk.
As of 2014, a contract soldier, sergeant, senior sapper of the 2nd engineer squad of the engineer platoon of the 1st battalion of the 18th MRB.
Mikhail Iskovich also appears under #525 in the InformNapalm investigation List 1097 containing information about the participants in the invasion of Crimea. Link to the social media account: VK (archive).
In 2015 Newsweek, Atlantic Council and other sources published materials about Russia’s participation in the war against Ukraine, which includes an interview and the name of a witness to those events, a contract soldier of the 18th MRB Rolan Ramazanov.
- Rolan Ramazanov
Born 12/10/1990, in Tuapse city, Krasnoyarsk Krai.
There have been multiple mass media reports about the contract soldiers of the 18th MRB Anton Tumanov and Robert Arutyunyan who died in Ukraine. The detailed material was published by Novaya Gazeta on September 1, 2014. We present this data as a reminder:
- Anton Tumanov
Born 10/5/1993, in Kozmodemyansk, Republic of Mari El. Killed in the Donbas in the town of Snizhne, August 13, 2014.
In 2012 and 2013, he did the first part of his conscript military service at the training unit for military logistics in Penza, then at the Russian 4th Military Base (military unit 66431) in the occupied Tskhinvali region of Georgia. As of June 2014 he was a contract soldier of the 18th MRB.
“In June we were sent to the Rostov Oblast for exercises, and in August a new order came from above, and we must go to Ukraine. I share everything with my beloved Nastya Chernova, told her that we were sent to escort weapons and equipment for the militia and immediately back. Later, on August 10, a new order came, I told my mother about it: ‘Tomorrow they will send us to Donetsk, we will help the militia, we are handing over documents and phones, they gave us two grenades and 150 rounds each,’ if something happens to me, at least she alone will have to know the truth, I go not of my own free will. We handed over the phones and went to Ukraine, I place my hope in our modern armor, including the BTR-82AM, which should cover us. On August 13 we stopped at the plant in the town of Snizhne, I hope nothing happens to us and we will quickly return home. In my 20s, I don’t want to become a murderer or die.” Anton Tumanov , military unit 27777, 18th MRB of the Russian Army, Donetsk Oblast, August 2014 .
- Robert Artyunyan (Arutyunyan)
Born 2/9/1984, in Armenia, lived in Volgograd.
In 2014, a contract soldier of the 18th MRB. Like Tumanov, he was killed in Snizhne on August 13, 2014
At this stage, 3 servicemen out of 8 shown in the group photograph remain unidentified.
Other groups and individual servicemen of the 18th MRB of the Russian Army appeared in more than a dozen of InformNapalm investigations:
- An Introduction to the so-called “Wild”, or National Battalions of the Russian Federation Currently Engaged in Ukraine 8/29/2014
- New Evidence of Russian Military Incursion into Ukraine 06.2014
- Tanks of the 18th Motorized Rifle Brigade in Ukraine 3/4/2015
- A Story Behind the Photo: Separatist Leader Pavel Gubarev and the Russian 18th Separate Motorized Rifle Brigade 6/10/2015
- ‘Putin’s Eleven’: Selfie Soldiers of 18th Russian Motorized Rifles Brigade in Donbas 7/23/2015
- 3 Trips From the 18th Brigade to Donbas — ‘Cherchez la femme’ 10/19/2015
- Participation of the Russian MLRS from the 18th Brigade in Lunging of Ukraine: Photo Facts and Geolocation 2/28/2016
- Another Disclosure by InformNapalm: War Criminals from the 18th Motorized Rifle Brigade of Russian Forces
- Officer from Russian 18th Motor Rifle Brigade traced to war zone in Ukraine10/10/2016
- Soldiers of Rocket Battalion of Chechnya-based 18th Brigade: from Crimea to Donbas 11/02/2017
- Sergeant Tekuzhev and Major Epishin of the Russian 18th Brigade: after Crimea they were sent to Donbas 11/27/2017