In the process of an OSINT investigation, in the social profile of Yevgeniy Sobolev, who is a Russian militant of the illegal armed group (IAG) “Somali” (Donetsk People’s Republic, or DPR), the InformNapalm international community volunteers found the photos where he provides shooting training to Russian servicemen, which indirectly points to his possible status as a regular Russian Army soldier.
The photos that drew our attention were taken at the Tsebelda mountain training area (Gulripshi District of the occupied Abkhazia). This training area is actively used by the Russian occupation contingent of the 7th military base (military unit 09332, Gudauta, Abkhazia, Georgia, belongs to the 49th Combined Arms Army, Southern Military District) for combat training and fire exercises of its motorized rifle and reconnaissance units.
In particular, the photos (1,2,3), uploaded to Sobolev’s page on June 10, 2017, show personal weapons training of the 7th Military Base soldiers at Tsebelda training area. Instructor Sobolev clearly stands out among the trainees. He is wearing non-regulation camouflage and an improved combat vest, has an army standard aluminum flask and is wearing the armband that says “Chief instructor”. In one of the photos a green sign “Marksmanship training” can be seen.
Note: in the beginning and middle of June 2017, Russian media reported of intensive personal training and a one-month field situational training exercises at the 7th military base with the involvement of experienced instructors, including the training at Tsebelda training area.
Yevgeniy Sobolev (Anatoliy Terentiev)
Social networks accounts:
- the active page in the name of Yevgeniy Sobolev: VK1 (profile, album, contacts archives), created in October 2013;
- the page in the name of Anatoliy Terentiev: VK2 (profile, album archives), the profile has not been active since February 2016.
Since February 2017, Sobolev has also been listed in the Peacemaker Center database as a Russian mercenary from Yoshkar-Ola (Mari El Republic), who participated in the fighting in Donbas. The database contains only links to his profile and to the group of Russian combat sambo federation in Mari El Republic.
Note: The photos with Yevgeniy Sobolev may seem familiar to the regular readers of InformNapalm, and indeed they should be. Sobolev appears in the group photos of “rebel mine workers” of the December 13, 2016 publication “Russian Army conscript seen in Donbas”, which dealt with the identification of a Russian serviceman posing as an insurgent of the “Dykiy’s” illegal armed group of the “DPR”.
Based on Sobolev’s profile analysis, we can judge that he served as a conscript in 2012-2013 in Airborne Forces, specifically in the 83rd Air Assault Brigade (military unit 71289, Ussuriysk). During the service in the Airborne Forces, he took part in international exercises at the training center in Spassk. In summer 2015, he became a mercenary in Donbas.
We have to assume that his airborne service experience helped him “make a career” in IAG “Somali”, where he was noted by Russian curators as a valuable asset, so he was soon appointed to the post of a contract serviceman in one of the 7th military base units with a high (triple) salary, which is paid to the Russian soldiers fighting in Donbas. Our assumption about Sobolev’s belonging to the 7th military base is also confirmed by his numerous friends in the social network – Russian contract soldiers, serving in reconnaissance units in Abkhazia.
In this context, we want to recall that the 7th military base is not only the Russian military unit occupying one of the regions of Georgia, but also one of the Russian Army units most frequently deployed into combat. The information about the combat record of this base’s soldiers in Donbas has been collected in more than 30(!) OSINT/HUMINT InformNapalm investigations. These include both early “Rostov-Ukrainian assignments” of tactical groups and artillery in the summer and fall of 2014 and the later individual assignments of contract servicemen in 2015 and 2016 (see 1, 2, 3).
Let us emphasize that even if our assumption about Sobolev’s belonging to military unit 09332 is not correct, the fact remains: a Russian militant, who fought in the east of Ukraine, is actively involved in the process of combat training of the personnel of the 7th military base of the Russian Army, whose servicemen were repeatedly spotted in the occupied territory of Donbas.
The structure and weapons of the 7th occupation military base.
The 7th military base, military unit 09332 (Georgia, occupied Abkhazia, Gudauta, belongs to the 49th Army of the Southern Military District of the Russian Federation), was first formed in 2009, after the Russian invasion of Georgia in 2008. The base was formed on the basis of the 131st Maykop Motorized Rifle Brigade, which was defeated by the Chechen rebels during the assault of Grozny on the New Year of 1994-1995.
The structure of this occupation unit in Abkhazia includes the land component in the form of a reinforced brigade: 4 infantry battalions, a tank battalion, two artillery battalions, a rocket artillery battalion, a snipers company, a UAV company, a reconnaissance battalion, and other units, including supply and support. The unit is staffed with a mix of conscript and contract soldiers. All attempts by the command to equip the base exclusively with contract servicemen failed. So, only one motorized rifle battalion is manned with 100% contract servicemen. This battalion is the core of the battalion-tactical group called up for aggressive actions against Ukraine in Donbass,.
Their main armament of the base in Gudauta: approximately 50 T-72B3 tanks (received as a replacement of T-90s), over 150 BTR-82 and BTR-80 APCs, 36 2S3M Akatsiya 152-mm self-propelled howitzers, 18 BM-21 Grad MLRS, other weaponry and equipment. The main locations where occupants perform their military exercises are Nagvalou coastal training area and Tsebelda mountain training area. The 7-th military base units, including motorized infantry, scouts and EW servicemen regularly patrol the administrative border in Gali District and Kodori valley.
In addition, the military base includes:
- aviation command office providing ground support for periodic flights of the Russian Airspace Forces planes to the airfield in Gudauta;
- the group of anti-aircraft missile battalions (includes air defense systems like 9K33 Osa short-range tactical surface-to-air missile systems and 9K35 Strela-10 short-range surface-to-air missile systems) and the anti-aircraft missile regiment, consisting of three battalions, which have 24 S-300 SAM launchers on combat alert in Agudzera and Primorskoye settlements;
- the electronic technical unit with alert facilities deployed on the airfield of Sukhumi Babushara Airport.
The 7th Military Base in InformNapalm publications
- Combat Crews of 2S3 “Akatsiya” of the 7th Military Base Identified along the Border with Ukraine, 10/05/2014
- ‘Donetsk Express’ – identification of Russian military equipment and weaponry, transferred to Donbas, 10/06/2014
- Medical Detachment of the 7th Military Base from Abkhazia Identified near the Border with Ukraine, 10/13/2014
- Rocket artillery of the 7th Military Base of the Russian occupation forces from Abkhazia on the border with Donbas,12/18/2014
- From the mandarin paradise toward the Ukrainian hell’: Russian contract soldiers pressed to fight in Ukraine, 02/04/2015
- Servicemen of the 7th Russian Military Base from Abkhazia receive medals for fighting in Donbas, 03/02/2015
- Conscripts of the 7th Russian Military Base massively recruited to become contract soldiers for the “Ukrainian missions”, 03/06/2015
- “Courageous Mihos” – a scout of the 7th Military Base, holder of medal For Courage, 03/18/2015
- More soldiers from 7th Military Base received Combat Medals after temporary duties in Ukraine, 05/27/2015
- ‘Cinderellas’ with Self-propelled Artillery Systems or How Russian Contract Servicemen are Posing as ‘Self-defence’, 07/02/2015
- The Сover Story of the ‘Former’ Soldier of the 7th Russian Base Does not Hold Water, 07/02/2015
- Massive Deployment of the Russian Troops And Equipment from the Occupied Abkhazia Is Registered, 09/23/2015
- Russia Deploys the Military Equipment of the 7th Base to Rostov Oblast, 09/24/2015
- Russian Contract Soldier from the 7th Base Fights as ‘DPR’ Militant, 09/25/2015
- ‘Bored silly’: the Russian Invaders’ Games in Donbas, 01/10/2016
- ‘Double Strike’ to the Russian Officers from the Southern Military District, 02/10/2016
- Journey of Russian Occupant: Gudauta – Rostov – Donbas – Khmeimim, 04/03/2016
- The Dynasty of Russian War Criminals: Biographic Narrative of the Invader, 08/15/2016
- Emperor’s new clothes or Putin exposed, 11/30/2016
- Daily routine of the Rostov reserve of “Novorossia army”, 12/15/2016
- Documents revealing personnel of another Russian BTG on a “Rostov-Ukrainian mission”, 10/27/2016
- 21 of 35: Russian artillerymen of the 7th Military Base involved in shelling of Ukraine. Identified. Infographics, 11/15/2016
- Love story 3: love triangle of a Russian occupant, 01/05/2017
- Russian scout from 7th Military Base given away a Bull Terrier from Horlivka, 11/28/2016
- Identification of Russian 7th military base scouts who fought in Ukraine, 12/30/2016
- Russian Kalmyk soldiers “got lost ” in the steppes of Ukraine, 12/25/2016
- From ‘hybrid’ soldier to cadet: Russian Military Intervention in Ukraine, 01/06/2017
- Recipient of Medal of the Order “For Merit to the Fatherland” and other Donbas veterans from the 7th Military Base, 01/22/2017
- Russian contract soldiers prefer to serve in the Far East rather than go to Donbass assignments, 09/09/2017
- Russia is building up its military presence in Georgia. New S-300 in occupied Abkhazia, 03/19/2017
- Russian Occupation Army’s 7th Military Base as Vanguard of Russian Propaganda, 07/17/2017
- Russia uses soldiers of the 7th Military Base for aggression against Ukraine, 07/26/2017.
Editors note as of October, 4, 2017: IAG “Somali” militant Yevgeniy Sobolev (Anatoliy Terentiev), who trained Russian servicemen of the 7th military base in Abkhazia, personally confirmed our assumption that he is a contract serviceman of this occupation unit. After the publication of the article on October 3, following the recommendation of Russian special services, responsible for information security, Sobolev removed three photos taken at the Tsebelda training area. This is easily seen by comparing the links: – the link on his album archive as of October 3, 2017, with photos from the Abkhaz training area; – and the link on his album archive as of October 4, 2017, already without above mentioned pictures.
Translated by Evgeniy Kalashnik. Edited by Max Alginin
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