Month: August 2014

The state of Ukraine 10:00 GMT 30/08/2014

All further updates to this map can be found in the ‘State of Ukraine’ tab.


Because WordPress for whichever reason won’t embed Google maps, I have to link directly to a standalone site.

The main polygon has a weird grid that comes with map engine, if it’s too bothersome I’ve uploaded the raw .kmz for your viewing pleasure.

The map is largely incomplete in the name of of keeping it easy on the eye.

Please report any inaccuracies in the comments, I’ll be updating the map as the conflict progresses.


Tanks of August 2.0 – a brief and balanced analysis

The recent significant surge in tanks exotic to eastern Ukraine and the substantial gain of territory in of DNR forces has lead many to conclude that direct Russian involvement is taking place to the extent that it could be considered an invasion of Ukraine by the Russian Federation. Beyond the obvious evidence of Russian troops captured on Ukrainian soil supporting these claims, many (myself included) have been pointing to the out of place armored vehicles appearing only on the rebel side.

Many T-72Bs like these, both with Kontakt-5 and Kontakt-1 Explosive Reactive Armor (ERA) have been posted across the web as hard evidence of an ongoing Russian invasion of Ukrainian sovereign territory. However likely it may be that these tanks do represent a mobilization of Russian forces on Ukrainian soil, there is a plethora of arguments seeking to discredit that notion.

Some of the most controversial footage to surface yesterday – August 27th, was of an allegedly Russian T-72B3 or possibly BA1 (AKA T-72B + Kontakt-5) that had been overrun and captured by Ukrainian forces in Donetsk. The tank, having sustained light battle damage considering that it was devoid of any crew was also marked by white stripes on each side. These stripes are usually used for Ukrainian troops to identify each other in the heat of battle which is why many were shocked to see them on a tank not before seen fielded by the Ukrainians in this theater, or at all for that matter. Some say that this is proof that Ukrainians have been operating T-72B3s all along while other say that it was marked by Ukrainian soldiers after having captured it.

Skeptics of the claims of invasion have been quick to point to images like the one below of Petro Poroshenko standing in front of a T-72B1 (+ Kontakt 1 ERA) as well as footage from the Kiev 7th Armor plant of T-72B1s in working configuration to dispute the possibility that the tanks could be Russian. What has yet to be explained however, is that no T-72B1s or T-64Bvs in Ukraine on the Ukrainian side have been seen with the commander’s hatch shield that so often are seen on rebel tanks.

Another trend worth noting is that no Ukrainian tanks have been spotted with Kontakt-5 ERA up to this point. All modern Ukrainian tanks are fitted with the domestic Nozh ERA. Nozh ERA may appear similar to Kontakt-5, but upon closer inspection the differences are clearly visible. Furthermore, Nozh is hidden behind metal plates on Ukrainian tanks such as the T-84 or BM-Bulat. This specific ERA is featured in the video from the Kiev factory which may have caused some people to confuse it with Kontakt-5 on a T-72B3 (and on some B1s), but if you look closely you’ll see that it’s more likely to be a T-72AG in the making.

Tankwatching in Ukraine and other fun things

This post will deal with the recent videos of Russian armor in eastern Ukraine, so far I have seen two, one claiming to be in Torez (August 25th) and another claiming to be in Sverdlovsk. I won’t be dealing with any geo-location or anything to that measure as some has already been done, the statements given are assuming that the locations provided are true.

All the screenshots will be from the most recent and far more interesting video which surfaced today, a video which (among others) finally gives credibility to the several claims by the Ukrainian government that Russian armor had penetrated its sovereign borders.

The tanks
The picture below is taken from this video and shows what appears to be a T-72B sporting Kontakt-5 ERA, one of the more common tanks in the Russian arsenal. This specific type of tank has never entered service in Ukraine, although the Kharkiv plant does have T-72s and Kontakt-5 ERA is in Ukrainian service it is highly unlikely that the two would ever meet each other in Ukraine without coming from Russia.
Furthermore, there has been no evidence of T-72s fighting on any side but the separatists at any point of this conflict, a video of a separatist T-72 rolling with a couple of T-64s in DNR surfaces recently but was followed by footage of its wreckage shortly after.


Whether or not this video is of the “lost” Russian troops is unsure, but everything would point to them knowing where they are.

The below picture is of one of several T-72Bs with the older Kontakt 1 ERA, a tank still in service today in the Russian military, although it is being phased out in the near future in favor of more “modern” tanks.

Missing a couple of Kontakt-1 ERA bricks, these tanks would at a glance appear to be the same as the ones featured in this video from August 25th, or at least they likely come from the same place judging by the pig-disgusting paint jobs they all share, with army-man green paint the same shade as the messages written on the MT-LBs in the column. An interesting thing to note is that the T-72s in the older video are accompanied by an ERA-less T-64 whereas the ones in the newer video are rolling with a newer T-72.

Other fun things

Some other notable things were shown in the video aside from the obviously Russian tanks

And those are the references to Russian naval infantry on two MT-LBs.
These two MT-LBs each have two zu-23-2 anti-aircraft cannons bolted on top of them but they also have distinctive anchors painted on them. The one in the picture above has “морская пехота” (Marines) translated into English written on its side. The one in the picture below has “севастополь” (Sevastopol) written on it, home to the Russian Black Sea Fleet and the 810th Naval Infantry Brigade.

If you look through the video you will notice that one of the one with “marines” written on it is flying the Russian naval ensign with a bat over it, possibly indicating a recon unit. It should be noted that Separatists do have an affinity for flying flags of units they aren’t part of but the intensity of the naval references seen on these vehicles is very uncommon. Another MT-LB without the zu-23-2 is flying the VDV flag and has more irregular looking troops on top of it.
Also notice the soldier sticking out of the forward hatch of the above pictured MT-LB and how closely he resembles a Russian regular or a “green man” if you will.

The column also features two BMP-2s, which are no strangers to this conflict, the rear BMP-2 is flying the flag of the Donbass people’s militia. Other appearances include: strela-10s and some trucks hauling artillery. 

Russia is sanic