The data collected by InformNapalm volunteer intelligence community shows that Russia has almost doubled the numbers of military equipment and formed new units along its western borders in recent months. Massive amount of Russian armament was demothballed and transferred to the military bases in Valuyki and Boguchar located in the immediate vicinity of the Ukrainian border. One of these springboard bases is 150 km away from the contact line in Donbas. The vehicles on these bases bear the same tactical markings as those of the 2nd Army Corps of Luhansk People’s Republic (LPR), de-facto a part of the Russian occupation force in Donbas. This is yet another proof that Russia is engaged in a large-scale hybrid war operation on the territory of Ukraine. Our assumption is based on the photos and satellite images presented in this investigation.
Russian 3rd Motorized Rifle Division formed 45 km away from the Ukrainian border
On May 19, 2107 InformNapalm published a feature about 144th Motorized Infantry Division being formed near Smolensk. At the same time, the Russian 3rd Motorized Infantry Division is being formed in Voronezh Oblast no more than 45 km away from the Ukrainian border.
The 3rd Motorized Infantry Division is a military unit within the 20th Guards Army of Russia’s Western Military District stationed in the city of Boguchar. The division was formed in December 2016 as a result of the reorganization of the 9th Motorized Rifle Brigade (relocated from Nizhny Novgorod) and the 23rd Motorized Rifle Brigade (relocated from Samara).
· Composition of the 3rd Motorized Infantry Division:
- Division headquarters (military unit 54046, Boguchar);
- 252nd Guards Motorized Rifle Regiment (military unit 91711, Boguchar);
- 99th Guards Motorized Rifle Regiment (military unit 91727, Boguchar);
- 337th Separate Engineer Battalion (military unit 91717, Boguchar);
- 911th Separate Logistics Battalion (military unit 54366, Boguchar);
- 337th Separate Medical (military unit 83833, Boguchar);
- 1143rd Air Defense Regiment (Belgorod Oblast);
- 237th Guards Armored Regiment (military unit 91726, Valuyki);
- 752nd Motorized Rifle Regiment (military unit 34670, Valuiki and Soloti);
- 84th Separate Reconnaissance Battalion (military unit 22263, Valuiki);
- 692nd Separate Signal Battalion (military unit 22463, Valuiki);
- 159th Separate Anti-tank Artillery Battalion;
- Separate electronic warfare company (Valuiki);
- Separate UAV Company;
- Separate nuclear, chemical and biological defense company.
The equipment of the 3rd Motorized Rifle Division had been marked with the old tactical markings of the 9th and 23rd Motorized Rifle Brigades, dashed square with three dots, till the spring of 2017.
The equipment with these tactical markings was repeatedly spotted on the territory of Ukraine in operation of the illegal armed groups of Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) and Luhansk People’s Republic (LPR). Read more: The 23rd Brigade’s Armed Vehicles And Personnel As Part of Novorossiya’s Armed Formations.
Tactical markings on the military equipment of the new division were changed in 2017.
Tactical markings on the military equipment of the 3rd Motorized Rifle Division in Valuyki.
Tactical marking “8 in a square”
This tactical marking could be seen on the military equipment during the parade on May 9, 2017 in Valuyki.
Only the R-149BMR Kushetka-B Russian command vehicle was marked with “11 in a square”.
The same tactical markings were spotted on the R-145BM Chayka command vehicle at the Russian military base in Valuyki (coordinates: 50.2256295, 38.1104136).
The division is also equipped with the BREM-1 armored repair and evacuation vehicle bearing “6 in a square” tactical markings. These machines are used for evacuation of stuck or damaged armor (infantry fighting vehicles, armored personnel carriers, main battle tanks etc.).
Ural military truck
Identical tactical markings on the Russian equipment in Luhansk Oblast.
Let us compare these tactical markings “6 and 8 in a square” on the vehicles of the 2nd Army Corps of the Russian hybrid forces in Luhansk Oblast of Ukraine – so called 6th Motorized Rifle Cossacks Regiment (Kadiivka, formerly Stakhanov) and 8th Armored Battalion (Luhansk).
The stencils for these tactical markings are similar to those used on the vehicles in Valuyki.
Let us have a close look at the tactical markings of the newly formed division at the military base in the town of Boguchar in Voronezh Oblast of Russia.
Tactical marking “16 in a square”
BTS-4 armored tractor
Here we have “16 in a square” again, but on the tank of the Separate Engineer Company of the 2nd Army Corps of the LPR.
Tactical markings “7 in a square” in Boguchar
Let us compare tactical markings of the 2nd Motorized Rifle Brigade at Debaltseve and of the 2nd Army Corp of the LPR.
Tactical marking “10 in a square” at the firing range in Boguchar
Here we see one of the soldiers of this division with the collar signs of the Russian Missile Forces and Artillery and a vehicle bearing a “10 in a square”. This photo clearly links the vehicle to the Russian artillery units.
Let us have a look at another example below of the same tactical marking, but on a vehicle belonging to the 2nd Army Corps of the LPR (so called 10th Separate Artillery Brigade of the 2nd Army Corps of the LPR).
Let us take note of the photo of 2016 with a Russian soldier of the 33rd MRB in front of the UAZ 315196 vehicle marked with the “10 in a square” tactical marking at the Kuzminsky firing range in Rostov Oblast, Russia.
On the photo below, we see a photo of Evgeny Koptev, another Russian artilleryman, in front of the UAZ vehicle. Again we see the collar sign of the Russian Missile Forces and Artillery on the photo.
These photos clearly demonstrate that the units of the Russian Army in the borderline areas with Ukraine and the Russian hybrid forces on the occupied territory of Ukraine use a common system of tactical markings on the military equipment.
Amassing armaments on springboard bases near Ukrainian border
Russian military bases in the towns of Valuyki and Boguchar are located in the vicinity of the Ukrainian border, whereas Boguchar is only 150 km away from the contact line in Donbas. These towns are marked with arrows on the map.
The numbers of military vehicles on the Valuyki military base has practically doubled in less than 2 months.
Approximately 2000 vehicles are kept on the 236th armament storage and repair base in Boguchar. The screen shots (top right corner) show that approximately 1000 additional vehicles appeared on this base within a year.
It looks like Russian command created two subsidiary occupation Army Corps in Donbas along the Russian Army’s organizational structure, which got reflected in the use of the tactical markings to identify operating units of the equipment. The identical tactical markings on the military vehicles in Donbas and in the areas of the Russian Federation near Ukrainian border are no less disturbing than demothballing of the soviet T-72B and T-80BV tanks. Read more about operation in our investigation Russia amasses decommissioned T-72B and T-80BV tanks at Ukrainian border. Forewarned is forearmed.
This publication was prepared by Vidal Sorokin and Necro Mancer specially for InformNapalm.Translated by Denis Whoknows, edited by Artem Velichko
(Creative Commons — Attribution 4.0 International — CC BY 4.0)
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