In early December 2019, after the publication of facts directly indicating that the Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) militants were carrying out an information operation to cover up the presence of Russian electronic warfare (EW) equipment in Donbas, the editorial team of InformNapalm volunteer intelligence community received new unique photo evidence. The materials provided confirm that the Russian Federation continues to actively deploy its professional military assets to continue the war against Ukraine and occupy parts of Ukrainian territory.
New photos and evidence from OSCE SMM
In late November and early December, observers of the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission (SMM) in Donbas spotted and reported the presence of Russian EW stations R-330Zh Zhitel, a modification of R-934 and RB-636 Svet-KU. Relevant text reports were published in the public part of the OSCE SMM reports for November 28 and December 7.
Screenshots from OSCE reports:
However, this information did not get the due attention of a wider public and the media, probably because visual evidence was not presented along with the text.
However, now we have unique photographic footage confirming the OSCE data.
InformNapalm analysts also compared these photos with the indicated types of Russian equipment and confirmed that it was highly likely that the R-330Zh Zhitel, R-934 and RB-636 Svet-KU stations were spotted again Donbas. Although the Russian military tried to hide the equipment under camouflage nets, the characteristic elements of the stations still gave away their deployment.
For visual comparison, we combined these images with other well-known photographs of these systems:
We should like to remind that InformNapalm first identified the Russian mobile radio-technical control and information protection system RB-636 Svet-KU, which was spotted in a photo in Luhansk at the intersection of 50-letia SSSR and Kurchatov streets. Our readers also helped us to establish that the system was operated by 18th Electronic Warfare Company (military unit # L-05776 based in Luhansk) of the 2nd Army Corps of the Russian occupation forces in Donbas. The chassis of the system is bearing a tactical sign “18 in a square” and the registration number LK 4686.
Also in 2016, through the analysis of radio interception records, InformNapalm volunteers could identify for the first time an automated jamming station R-934UM which mainly works in conjunction with the R-330Zh Zhitel system under the direction of a R-330KMA command post.
That is the reason why the OSCE SMM report for November 28 featured both the R-934 and R-330Zh Zhitel stations which were spotted together in the occupied territory of Donbas 32 km west of Luhansk.
Other Russian EW systems found in Donbas
InformNapalm volunteer intelligence community has repeatedly recorded the presence in Donbas of various modern Russian EW and SIGINT systems that are in service with the Russian Armed Forces. As of 2019, the volunteers investigated and published the facts of deployment of more than 12 of these systems:
- RB-341V Leer-3 – Russian EW system, designed to jam GSM communications. The system incorporates three Orlan-10 UAVs and a command post mounted on a KamAZ-5350 truck. The system is capable of simulating GSM base stations and sending faked SMS messages to subscribers in order to mislead or effect psychological pressure;
- R-378B Borisoglebsk-2 – Russian automated jamming station;
- R-934UM – Russian automated jamming station;
- R-330Zh Zhitel – Russian automated jamming station;
- Torn – Russian signals intelligence system;
- SPR-2M Rtut-BM – Russian jamming station;
- RB-636 Svet-KU – Russian mobile radio control and information protection system;
- 1RL243 Rubicon – Russian automated signals intelligence station;
- R-381T Taran – Russian automated signals intelligence system;
- 1L269 Krasukha-2 – Russian EW and jamming station (recorded only in the OSCE SMM reports)
- RB-109A “Bylina” – Russian EW and signals intelligence system (recorded only in the OSCE SMM reports)
- Repellent-1 – Russian EW and jammer system (recorded only in the OSCE SMM reports)
Most of the exclusive visual evidence on the deployment of the Russian EW assets in Donbas collected by InformNapalm volunteers from 2014 to 2018, was used in 2019 in the presentation of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine for the international partners.
Not only EW…
In addition to the EW assets, the Russian Federation is actively using other types of military equipment in Donbas. As of 2019, the InformNapalm interactive database contains facts about the use of 50 types of Russian heavy weapons and sophisticated military systems that could not have accidentally ended up in Donbas without express orders from the top military and political leadership of the Russian Federation. Also in over 5 years, volunteers have documented rotating participation of more than 2,600 Russian personnel and specialists from 99 military units of the Russian Armed Forces, as well as other law enforcement agencies of the Russian Federation in the hostilities in Donbas. A significant part of the Russian military, including high-ranking army officers, have performed and continue to perform combat missions and command hybrid occupation forces in Donbas.
InformNapalm reports and video inforgaphics of some types of Russian military equipment and Russian military personnel in Donbas were presented at the NATO Parliamentary Assemblies, as well as at other international events from 2016 to 2019.
The Russian Federation continues to wage a hybrid war against Ukraine in Donbas deploying its technical assets and military specialists.
At a press conference following the negotiations in the Normandy format in Paris on the night of December 9, 2019, Russian president Vladimir Putin avoided specific answers to the question of returning control of the state border to Ukraine, referring to paragraphs of the 2014 Minsk Protocol. However, the Minsk Protocol clearly indicates a clause on the withdrawal of all foreign armed groups, military equipment, as well as mercenaries from the territory of Ukraine under the supervision of the OSCE and the disarmament of all illegal armed groups. There is also a clause calling for restoring of full control over the state border by the Ukrainian government.
However Russia has consistently proved that it is not interested in ending the hostilities and achieving peace in Donbas, as for over five years it has refused to withdraw its equipment and troops while trying to paint itself as a mediator of negotiations, and not as a party to the conflict. Illegal issuance of Russian passports and de-facto occupation of certain parts of Luhansk and Donetsk Oblasts continues. It is the next stage of the Russian aggression against Ukraine after the invasion and occupation of the Ukrainian Crimea, in blatant violation of international law.
President of Ukraine Vladimir Zelensky, following the Paris meeting, announced the expansion of the mandate of the OSCE mission to monitor the conflict zone. Now the OSCE observers will have the right to monitor the situation 24/7.
InformNapalm international volunteer community has extensively analyzed and referred to the reports of the OSCE SMM with the data on Russian military equipment in Donbas. However, we have grounds to believe that the OSCE monitoring mission could work much more effectively if representatives of the Russian Federation, the aggressor country, as well as other countries that repeatedly sided with Russia in the UN in voting on resolutions on the criminal seizure of Crimea, were withdrawn from it.
The international community needs to step up sanctions against the Russian Federation, as a determined aggressor state for its continued aggressive actions against Ukraine and the deployment of its troops on the Ukrainian soil.
We invite politicians, experts and diplomats to focus on these issues for consistent pressure on the aggressor on all political, diplomatic and information fronts.
This publication was prepared by Roman Burko specially for InformNapalm. Distribution and reprint with reference to the source is welcome! (Creative Commons — Attribution 4.0 International — CC BY 4.0)