What was the date when the Russian army units entered Ukraine?
These days, mainly due to politicians’ statements, people say that Russia invaded Ukraine on August, 24, 2014. Maybe indeed the regular Russian units started crossing the border and fighting against Ukrainian army that day… however the first Russian servicemen were noticed far before that.
‘Rain’ [Dozhd] website states that Armen Davoyan was one of the first officially fallen soldiers, his death emerged on July, 14, 2014.
Davoyan served in a reconnaissance battalion of the 9th separate motorized rifle brigade, military unit No. 54046, Nizhny Novgorod, Russia.
It seems that Russian recon groups infiltrated Ukraine on early stages of the war. They ensured the seamless capture of different objects and afterwards local militants took control of them.
Also 6P29 VSS ‘Vintorez’ (suppressed sniper rifle used by special forces units) started to appear in videos and photos on different ‘Novorossiya’ support forums at that period.
The price of such rifle is about 10 thousands of dollars. Regular units and militants use 6B1 SVD sniper rifle with different modifications, and ‘Vintorez’ may be usually seen only in recon units. That is a pretty rare rifle which cannot be bought in a weapon shop. And definitely nobody takes it on vacation.
Both soldiers have a photo with a Ukrainian border sign in background, dated on May, 3. One of them even specified the location – Luhansk. Such signs are placed on the Ukrainian side of the border – the inscription is in Ukrainian.
Recon group, ‘Vintorez’, Ukrainian side of the border. May, 3, 2014.
Later, on June, 17, Yakushev for the first time uploads a photo with geotags: “Mayakovskogo ave., Donetsk, Ukraine”
Conclusion: the Russian soldiers appeared in Ukraine far before August, 24 and Ilovaisk cauldron. Even the first officially killed soldiers happened in July. And the first recon squads were noticed in April-May, 2014.