The leadership of the Russian occupation forces in the temporarily occupied territory of Donetsk and Luhansk Oblasts has stepped up inspections of the training ranges. The focus is on equipping command posts and precision weapons defense fortifications, as well as camouflaging weapons and military hardware against space and air reconnaissance. On October 27, 2020, the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine reported this in their new situation update from the JFO zone with reference to the data of the Main Intelligence Directorate of Ukraine.
InformNapalm volunteer intelligence community has grounds to believe that such activity of the Russian invaders is due to a number of factors and expectations of the Russian military command regarding the next escalation of hostilities in the Donbas. At the same time, the Russian military command is trying to take into account the effective experience of using modern combat unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) in the hostilities between Azerbaijan and Armenia. Apparently, this process was also triggered by numerous news reports of October 23, based on the statement of the Vice Prime Minister and Minister of Strategic Industries of Ukraine Oleh Urusky about Turkey’s readiness to build a plant in Ukraine for the production of Bayraktar TB2 medium altitude long endurance combat UAVs. In October 2020, Ukraine and Turkey also signed a comprehensive document on the joint production of military equipment. Let us recall that back in 2018, Ukraine purchased 6 Bayraktar TB2 combat UAVs from Turkey and conducted comprehensive crew training for the potential deployment of this type of weapon in the war zone.
Russian UAV experience
This activity could not have been ignored by the Russians. On October 26, Russian media released a propaganda video that showed the first Russian combat UAV Orion handed over to the Russian Army in April 2020.
This UAV has been under development since 2011, but it was only in November 2019 that the Orion began to enter trials with the Russian Army. On November 16, 2019, an Orion crashed during a test flight near residential buildings in the village of Listvyanka in the Ryazan Oblast. Local residents took a photo of the incident and posted it on social media. The cause of the crash was reported as “equipment failure”.
For over 10 years, Russian military experts have been writing analytical materials on the urgent need for the Russian Federation to reduce the significant technical lag behind the United States, Israel and Turkey in the production of combat UAVs.
It is possible that the news stories about the Russian Orion UAV are only a media response in an attempt to show a certain potential or breakthrough, whereas the actual capabilities of the Russian Federation in the development of unmanned high-precision weapons remain questionable. In 2018, InformNapalm volunteer intelligence community published a report on the equipment of the Russian Orlan-10 UAV (tail number 10332), which crashed on November 6, 2016 into the Azov Sea off the coast of the Donetsk Oblast of Ukraine. This report clearly demonstrated the state of the Russian technology in the field of unmanned aerial vehicles.
At the same time, according to InformNapalm OSINT investigations, since 2014, the Russian Federation has been actively using more than 8 types of military UAVs in the war against Ukraine in the Donbas. The drones are being used for reconnaissance and psychological operations.
In addition, Russian weapons, including the latest types of weapons, in particular electronic warfare (EW) systems, have begun to feature more often on photos made by the UAVs of the OSCE special monitoring mission in the Donbas.
InformNapalm, based on the information from open sources (own OSINT investigations, as well as OSCE SMM reports), as of 2020, has listed more than 12 types of Russian EW systems identified in the Donbas.
Significant build-up of Russian military equipment and weapons has been repeatedly observed by UAVs and satellites in the occupied part of the Ukrainian Donbas (both at military ranges and beyond them). These observations provide extra motivation for Russian military command to cover up the scale of aggression.
On October 22, Oleksiy Danilov, Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine, said that he did not rule out an escalation of Russian military aggression against Ukraine in the Donbas in the coming months. He also stressed that in such a scenario Ukraine is capable of offering a powerful response.
In the context of this statement, as well as based on the analysis of the relevant information, the reports of the Main Intelligence Directorate regarding the actions of the Russian occupiers in the Donbas may be another sign of the aggressor’s preparation for escalation. The preparations include in parallel additional concealment measures against aerial and satellite reconnaissance systems, as well as the development of scenarios for countering the use of attack UAVs.
Read more from InformNapalm
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- Russia grossly violates ceasefire terms: mortars observed 2 km from the line of contact (PHOTOS)
- Russian multipurpose armored vehicle Tigr, part of MK-BLA-01 drone system spotted in the Donbas (video)
- InformNapalm’s Observers Found 2 Russian 2B26 ‘Grad’ Systems
- Russia has kept its Zoopark-1 recon systems in Donbas since 2014 (PHOTOS)
- Russian soldiers who lost Takhion drone in Donbas have been identified
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