It is far from being a new subject, that the Russian Federation’s forces take part in fights in the Ukrainian Donbas. This has been reported in the Ukrainian media many times. But to all skeptics, both local and international, definite visual prove of these facts is always needed.
The presence of the Russian tanks, particularly the newest ‘T-90’ model, has also been raised over the July-September period, but there was no trophy or photo proof of that. Now we can know for sure that Russian T-90 tanks took part in fights near the Luhansk airport.
This is proved by the pictures posted on the VK profile of a Russian tank crewman. The unit involved was the tank battalion of the 136th motorized rifle brigade (military unit No. 63354, Buynaksk , Republic of Dagestan, Russia). The photographs were uploaded between the 2nd and 12th of October, 2014.
We have managed to identify the location where the pictures were taken, namely the road close to Fabrychne locality close to Luhansk airport. The road signboard shows “left to Krasny Luch”, “straight to Starobelsk”, and “right to Luhansk”. (I am grateful to my friends and readers and also to Artem Vasilenko, an expert of the InformNapalm’s team for help in defining the locality).
I have also written about the moving of tanks from Buynaksk to Rostov and the Ukrainian Donbas. There were photos found on social media showing the presence of tanks from Dagestan as well as of a destroyed BMD vehicle (supposedly Russian), but we could not be completely sure because of missing geotags, comments or other identification marks. But this material clearly proves the presence of the Russian T-90s in Ukraine.
The pictures were taken from the profile of the Russian tank crewman of the 136th motorized rife brigade, Vitalek (Vitalik) Markasov, tank id ‘438’ is stenciled on his headgear (the IDs on the tanks are damaged). However tanks with numbers ‘4..’ (for example 431, 434, 454, 458) were more than once seen in photos taken on the train cargo stations in Kizlyar, Dagestan, and on photos of the tanks transferred to Rostov Oblast (and then later to Donbas).
Assessing Markasov we can say that he is a contract serviceman of the tank battalion of the 136th motorized rifle brigade. In June 2014, along with other tank crews, he had trainings in a ‘survival school’ close to Volgograd. He was sent to Donbas after that. As for October, 12, he (and so his tank unit) is still in the conflict zone in the territory of Ukraine (please pay attention to the comments).
I would like to address Catherine Ann Fitzpatrick, who writes for ‘Tne Interpreter’:
Dear Catherine Ann, you have asked for more reliable information about the Kremlin’s participation in the war in Donbas. The presented article is justified with the undeniable facts.
My previous address remained unanswered.
Here are some links to the previous articles on InformNapalm about the Russian tanks and their crews:
Original article by Irakli Komaxidze translated by Eugenia Zlamanuk