something is definitely happening, whether russian tanks supplied to rebels, or kiev tanks captured by rebels

SUPER UPDATE – Sorry, people, the tank park capture was officially denied by Donetsk People’s Republic. It seems to have been an unfounded claim by the head of the information centre of the South-Eastern Front, Konstantin Knarik. I bet that guy has lost his job, because credibility is constantly on trial with these people, entire Kiev & West media constantly accusing them & Russia of making stuff up – RB

UPDATEThis seems to be the explanation of the mystery tank column, but not of the claim about capturing the tank park – RB

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Below are three versions of what is presumably one and the same story: (a) captured tank park in Artemovsk, Donetsk region; (b) large column of armoured vehicles with crews sent over the border by Russia; (c) captured column of Kiev forces working along border in Lugansk region. A few thoughts if this were true: (a) Kiev would not hesitate to throw its entire fighter-bomber force against this, rather than let it stay in rebel hands; (b) tank crews cannot be trained overnight; (c) fuel and ammunition supplies may or may not be to hand. Strelkov was actually asked yesterday (Jun 20): “In Internet there has appeared the information about the capture of the base with armored vehicles in Artemovsk. Is it so?” He replied: “It was attacked, but as we have problems with the connection, I won’t comment on the situation in order not to be mistaken.” Since then, he hasn’t said a word either about that or about the relief column heading north from Lugansk, of which we have all the videos below – RB

Donetsk militia take 221 tanks and 228 APCs of Ukrainian troops
Pravda.Ru, Jun 20 2014

Militias of the People’s Republic of Donetsk took control of the Ukrainian army tank base in the town of Artemovsk. The head of the information center Southeastern Front, Konstantin Knyrik, told Interfax:

At night, we took control of the tank base in Artemovsk, 30 km from Slavyansk. We now have 221 tanks, 288 armored vehicles, 12 self-propelled guns, 18 Grad volley fire systems, 183 infantry fighting vehicles and 12 mortars.

ANNA News has the story, word for word, with further encouraging details and a short clip of apparently captured vehicles barrelling along a road in town (whichever town). It’s about half way through this bulletin (as usual, beautiful girl, irritating jingle):


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Here is the source of ANNA’s clip, uploaded during the night 19/20 Jun, hence over 24 hours ago. The caption says “Lugansk, 20 June 2014, almost 6 am.”


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In the comments to the above is a Ukrainian claim this entire column came over the border from Russia, rather than being a captured one, which would indeed have had to have been somewhat surprisingly well mobilised and driven out (do the rebels have so many trained crews? I doubt it) The claim says:

In Lugansk moving large convoy of military equipment. reported a Ukrainian military who defend Airport. According to them, around 5.30 am convoy passed through the village Hryaschuvate from the border with Russia toward Luhansk. Where it is sent to the column – to the city or to the airport is not yet clear. Within eight columns of T-64 armored vehicles, trucks GAZ-66 Ural and Kamaz. One of them was anti-aircraft installation. The column under the heading of pravporamy.

Naturally, Kiev (and Usaia) are claiming these tanks etc came over the border from Russia, as opposed to their being captured by rebels in a tank park at Artemovsk. Associated Press ran a story 12 hours ago which said this:

More Russian tanks left a base in southwest Russia on Thursday, and Russia is preparing to send additional tanks to separatists in eastern Ukraine, a senior Usaian administration official said Friday. The Ukrainian government briefed Western diplomats in Kiev on Friday and told them it has evidence that 10 additional tanks, along with fuel trucks and supporting vehicles, crossed the border between the countries in the last 24 hours. The Usaian official said the Usaian government has independently confirmed additional tanks departed from a deployment site in southwest Russia on Thursday.

This looks like them (some are bearing either the Russian tricolour flag and one the St George flag, therefore they definitely aren’t being driven by Kiev forces:


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That was uploaded some time on Jun 20. The caption to it says “Column taken from the Ukrainian army tanks on the streets of Alchevsk, 20.06.2014.”

Crazy Ivan has another version of the same story, which specifies Lugansk, and talks of a captured column (on the move) not a tank park in Artemovsk, which is in Donetsk region

Militia announced the capture of several dozens of units of the Ukrainian armored vehicles
Politicus.ru, Jun 20 2014, 1953 local time

Militia at 1748 local time, announced the capture of several dozens of units of the Ukrainian armored vehicles Militia Lugansk national Republic (LNR) took several dozen armored vehicles of Ukraine’s armed forces, said in the militia. “The army LNR stopped the advance of the Ukrainian armed forces along the border with Russia. The enemy suffered heavy losses. Captured dozens of armored vehicles,” says the message of press-service, Donetsk national Republic (DND) on Twitter.

The news update on Voices of Sevastopol associated with this appear to be as follows:

18-53, Militia Lugansk national Republic (LNR) took several dozen armored vehicles of Ukraine’s armed forces, said in the militia. “The army LNR stopped the advance of the Ukrainian armed forces along the border with Russia. The enemy suffered serious poteriat dozens of armored vehicles,” saus the message of press-service, Donetsk national Republic (DND) on Twitter.

Petri Krohn as usual has done a fantastic job correlating everything:

Yesterday morning we saw a Novorossiyan NAF tank column cover a distance of 100 km in one hour, maybe even 200 km in two hours. This would be quite an achievement for any unit in combat in hostile territory. This time it was done in broad daylight, without air cover, under real time surveillance of street webcams, augmented by almost instant YouTube uploads by spectators. Pro-ukie propagandist even claim these were Russian tanks invading into sovereign Ukraine. This must be what it feels like for a country and president to be raped! I counted four T-64 ‪‎tanks‬, five BTR-80 APCs, seven Ural trucks, one at least pulling an anti-aircraft gun and five Kamaz trucks. It is possible that some of the Ural trucks are in fact GRAD launchers. Here is an approximate timeline with videos:

5 am: Krasnodon

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5:44 am: ‎Luhansk‬

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6 am: Luhansk

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6 am: Luhansk

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6:30 am: ‪‎Alchevsk‬

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6:35 am: ‪‎Perevalsk‬

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7 am: ‎Gorlovka‬

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Ukraine@war claims that the tanks came in from Crimea, but it is my understanding that the armor was part of the western offensive wedge closing in on Krasnodon from the north.

9 Comments

  1. Crazy Ivan Report
    Posted June 21, 2014 at 7:40 am | Permalink

    Decidedly there must be on New Russia territory some small number of Russian specialist (spetz soldiers). LPR and DPR Armies cannot gained their skills in weapon control (usage) or tactical activities in such short time, despite having very experienced former soldiers.

    Anyway, it’s still too few heavy armor to make stand against Ukie tanks.

  2. Posted June 21, 2014 at 7:43 am | Permalink

    So, What is it? Captured? Russian? What?

  3. niqnaq
    Posted June 21, 2014 at 7:45 am | Permalink

    Yeah, what we’re seeing on the move is just an average column, but the original story about the captured tank park gave huge numbers, and included also Grad launchers. Some long range artillery would be the thing to really satisfy Strelkov’s dreams. But if all this stuff happened over 24 hours ago, there ought to be more stories on it by now, and I cannot find them. Which suggests, unfortunately, that the story about the captured tank park was probably a cover for something less wonderful than that. I don’t know exactly what. For the Russians to send any tanks over would be peculiar, they should either go for a full-scale invasion or else keep their tanks at home, because West propaganda would rush the satellite photos out anyway. Again, we haven’t seen any. So the evidence points both ways.

  4. niqnaq
    Posted June 21, 2014 at 7:46 am | Permalink

    I just don’t know. The thing that strikes me is the news blackout since the original reports. Whatever it is, both sides seem to be keeping quiet about it. Or else it is nothing at all.

  5. niqnaq
    Posted June 21, 2014 at 10:52 am | Permalink

    Strelkov was actually asked yesterday (Jun 20): “In Internet there has appeared the information about the capture of the base with armored vehicles in Artemovsk. Is it so?” He replied: “It was attacked, but as we have problems with the connection, I won’t comment on the situation in order not to be mistaken.” and that’s it. Not a word since.

  6. niqnaq
    Posted June 21, 2014 at 11:03 am | Permalink

    This must count as the fourth version: “Russian armored convoy is heading towards a huge Ukrainian arms depot containing enough weapons, including armored vehicles for 17000 troops. Video showing Russian convoy of tanks/trucks/APCs in Luhansk headed towards large arms depot in Donetsk.”

  7. Posted June 22, 2014 at 9:23 am | Permalink

    Artemovsk tank storage/repair depot? so probably lots of OLD and BROKEN armor. half of the inventory is a junkyard in all likelyhood (good for spare parts). 70s/80s era Soviet equipment is field serviceable though so with some TLC someone could restore these things. Or just get them driveable and use them to bait the Praviy Sector etc.

  8. niqnaq
    Posted June 22, 2014 at 10:09 am | Permalink

    Yup. But still, it would be nice.

    🙂

  9. TSO
    Posted June 23, 2014 at 9:45 pm | Permalink

    Dear sir,

    I would like to remind you of one little detail that foreigners keep missing:

    RUSSIA HAS A DRAFT.

    I keep being amused how every commenter keeps wondering “why there are so many well-trained military persons around? They must be professional army!”

    Nearly EVERY Russian male over 18 has spent 1 to 2 years in the Army, getting accustomed to chain of command, holding the assault rifle by the right end, shooting, and (obviously, not /everyone/, but still a sizable number) driving tanks.

    Hell, I was taught how to disassemble and assemble AK47s when I was in my SEVENTH grade (and we had to do it under 7 seconds to get the “5” (the Russian equivalent of American “A” grade)).

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