Our new investigation discloses some additional details about the Russian 5th armored brigade participation in the war in Donbas. Let us remind you that the Russian media ‘Novaya Gazeta’ [New Newspaper] published an interview with the Russian tank crewman (in Russian) on March 2, 2015. This serviceman, Dorzhy Batomunkuev, had been assigned to Ukraine together with his battalion.
The information that the 5th armored brigade (military unit No. 46108, Central Military District, Ulan-Ude, Republic of Buryatia, Russia) was moved to Rostov Oblast and that it later took part in the combats in Donbas was published by InformNapalm for the first time in November, 2014, far before the interview with the Russian tank crewman.
The reason to renew the topic was a picture from the lostarmor website which allowed us to tie up one thing with another and prove the belonging of the tanks destroyed in Ukraine to the 5th brigade.
In particular, the following points are mentioned in the interview above:
- I had a very nice tank. Not just ’72’, but ’72B’. And ‘B’ means the tank has 1K13 optical scope.
- But the battalion commander had bad luck. During the carousel, when you shoot…
- The tank is a very capricious equipment, sometimes it gets a hangfire. You shoot, but it doesn’t shoot. It just does not fire.
- The first tank fires – kaboom… the second one… the third one – hangfire. And they are being shelled by the Ukrainians at that moment. And that’s it. The commander jumped into his tank and moved – he destroyed one tank, but the second one burnt him.
We conducted the searching of the two destroyed T-72B tanks (with 1K13 scopes) near Debaltseve on the basis of Dorzhy’s story. The pictures of these units were found on the ‘lostarmor’ website (photo 1 and photo 2)
According to one of the photos, this is a T-72BM tank (T-72B model from 1989) with several specific distinctive features – 1K13 night vision scope; ‘Kontakt-V’ active armor; lack of ‘DVE-BS’ wind sensor.
The set of factors points out that the destroyed vehicles can be identified as the 5th brigade’s tanks:
- Both the provided pictures and the interview show the T-72B tanks, model from 1989, with 1K13 night vision scope (usually mentioned as T-72BM)
- The tanks were destroyed near the village of Lohvynove (the key point in the combats for Debaltseve), the time of destruction matched as well
- Two tanks appeared in the pictures, the second vehicle belonged to the battalion commander (the tanks were burnt, manholes were open, turrets were on their places)
According to the information we have, the T-72B tanks (model from 1989) are in service of the 5th separate armored brigade. To confirm this we provide you with several pictures from the photo albums of the 5th brigade’s group in the VK social network (group and archive, album and archive).