OSINT reconnaissance, aimed at finding and identifying the Russian invasion troops located in the territory of Ukraine, has provided undeniable evidence of the presence in Luhansk Oblast in Ukraine of Russian servicemen of the 22th Spetsnaz Brigade (military unit No. 11659, Stepnoy, Rostov Oblast, Russia) of the Main Intelligence Directorate (GRU) of the General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces.
As a result of examination of social network profiles of Russian servicemen (in particular, photos with geotags, contact lists, comments, status messages, etc.), we found photos that were uploaded in May 2015 and were taken in well known places in Luhansk with local sights in the background: World War I Mark V tank monument, Druzhby Narodiv (“People’s Friendship”) Park, and the zoo.
Note: you can see the same sights of Luhansk if you follow these links:
– Memory Square in Druzhby Narodiv Park http://lugansk1795.info/parki_luganska/skver-pamyati-park-druzhby-narodov/
– Luhansk sights: http://uafacts.com/ukraine/chto-zhe-takogo-posmotret-v-luganske/
– Luhansk zoo: http://lugansk1795.info/parki_luganska/zoopark-luganska/
All these photos were published on the social network page that belongs to Iskander Garipov, a serviceman of the 22nd Spetsnaz Brigade, who is now on his so-called “work assignment to Ukraine”. We should pay special attention to the group photo, which shows three servicemen, dressed in non-regulation uniforms, with the “Novorossia” chevron on one of them.
After studying the Garipov’s profile we were able to establish the identities of two other soldiers, who happened to be Russian servicemen from the same brigade, serving under contract. So:
- Iskander Garipov (https://vk.com/id206991272): the fact that he is a serviceman of the Russian Army, in particular, of the 22nd Spetsnaz Brigade, could be confirmed directly and indirectly by a number of clues. His social network profile shows his complete service record, from the compulsory military service in the Northern Fleet and continuing to his contract service.
For nearly 2 years Garipov served in the 346th Spetsnaz Brigade (military unit No. 31681, Prokhladnyi, Kabardino Balkariya, Russia) of GRU. During that time, he underwent parachute training in the town of Mozdok, North Ossetia, then he had special training at the base of the Intelligence Unit Training Center, located on the Darial mountain training range in the North Ossetia, and finally he took a special course at the base of the 16th Spetsnaz Brigade (military unit No. 54607, Tambov)
In 2015, Garipov was already a serviceman of the 22nd Spetsnaz GRU Brigade, located in Rostov Oblast. This is confirmed by a number of photos taken in 2015, including the photo, where a chevron of the 22nd Brigade (that is, one of the possible variants of the brigade chevrons) can be seen, and the photos from the Southern Military Command skiing championship.
Note: According to the information from various public sources, including the Russian Ministry of Defense website, the Southern Military Command ski race championship took place in Volgograd in February, 2015. Teams of the 58th and 49th Armies, the 4th Air Force and AA Defense Command, and a spetsnaz unit from Rostov-on-Don were named among participants and winners. (http://function.mil.ru/news_page/country/more.htm?id=12008343@egNews).
- Aleksander Riazantsev (https://vk.com/id23415785) is another special service soldier, who is present in the group photo from Luhansk. He has the same photo in his album and he is also a serviceman of the 22nd Spetsnaz Brigade.
Even though Riazantsev’s profile included a lot less information than the previous profile, it was still possible to reconstruct a certain events and the service record: military service and training (likely NCO courses) at Ryazan Airborne Command School, military service in the 346th Spetsnaz Brigade, special training in the already mentioned Darial center, mountaineering training at the base of the Mountaineering Training Center ‘Tertskol’ in Kabardino-Balkaria, and participation in the SMC skiing competition in February 2015.
- Nikolay Svarozhych (https://vk.com/idswarog), the third special service soldier from the group picture taken in Luhansk, happened to be more careful. His profile information and picture album include even less information than his friends’ profiles. However, even here it was possible to identify him and his connection to the other servicemen and to the 22nd Spetsnaz Brigade.
The three Spetsnaz GRU servicemen, who “got burned” in Luhansk and are presented here, are just a sample, since a more careful study of their contacts, photos, comments, etc. will uncover other servicemen of the same brigade, who are now on their “Ukrainian work assignment”. Vitalik Viktorovich Fattakhov (https://vk.com/fattahin) is one of them. Even though he is pretending to be a ‘Novorossiya’ militant, in reality he is also a Spetsnaz GRU soldier.
The subject of the presence of GRU units in Ukraine was mentioned by us earlier:
– Servicemen from 2nd Spetsnaz GRU Brigade (military unit No. 64044, Pskov) were found recently https://informnapalm.org/9207-2-ya-brygada-spn-gru-gsh-vs-rf-na-maryupolskom-napravlenyy
– In our publications from the year 2014-2015 there was information about the presence of GRU units on the border with Ukraine and in Donbas itself. This includes units from the 346th and 22nd Spetsnaz Brigades:
Saboteurs from the 346th GRU Brigade are trained according to Stanislavsky system: https://informnapalm.org/5356-dyversantov-346-j-brygady-gru-gotovyat-po-systeme-stanyslavskogo
Russian servicemen in Crimea are from the intelligence unit of the 346th Spetsnaz Brigade https://informnapalm.org/3758-rossyjskye-vojska-v-krymu-razvedchyky-346-j-brspn
346th Spetsnaz GRU Brigade is in Ukraine https://informnapalm.org/1144-346-ya-otdelnaya-brygada-spetsyalnogo-naznachenyya-gru-v-ukrayne
346th Spetsnaz GRU Brigade https://informnapalm.org/97-346-ya-brygada-spetsnaznachenyya-gru-prodol
22nd Spetsnaz GRU Brigade is in Ukraine https://informnapalm.org/1116-22-ya-obrspn-gru-v-ukrayne
Russian special operations forces – everything new is well forgotten old. https://informnapalm.org/61-rossyjskye-syly-spetsyalnyh-operatsy
Video by Andriy Harin
Original article by Irakli Komakhidze translated by Maksym Sviezhentsev, edited by Max Alginin