One of the most intriguing terrorist units is the Vityaz Battalion [“vityaz” means “knight” in Russian – Transl.] It operates in the Luhansk Oblast and formally is a part of the “Luhansk People’s Republic” (LNR). Through the months of the war, this unit received much less scrutiny than other units, reports Anton Pavlushko on Facebook.
The battalion’s zone of activity is Krasnodon and Izvarino. Its objective is to control the supply line of the “Luhansk People’s Republic” (LNR) through Izvarino. However, it is not exactly clear whether the battalion has some local militiamen or is exclusively the Russian professional military.
Meet Nikolai Glushkov, 23 years old, from the Russian city of Samara Oblast. He serves as a contract military professional in the 15th peacekeeping brigade in Samara.
This year, the team participated in the annexation of the Crimea. Starting some time in May, the team has been officially on exercises near the Ukrainian border.
As early as July-August Glushko was posing in the uniform of the Russian Army somewhere near the Ukrainian border (judging by his friends).
15th Separate Motorized Rifle Brigade, town of Roschinsky, Samara., v/ch 90600
Original photo: https://pp.vk.me/c614723/v614723052/14286/0-BSQ2sZlk8.jpg
Then in September we see him already within the ranks of LNR’s Vityaz Battalion :
Would it seem that he is a typical Russian professional soldier on vacation? Let’s take a closer look. Taken about the same time, here he is riding on an APC:
A Russian professional military within the ranks of of LNR’s Vityaz battalion riding on an APC with painted-over identification marks
The identification sign of the Peacekeeping Force – “MC” (his native 15th Brigade) on the tower of the APC has been painted over. Here’s a similar picture from July with the sign still visible:
It is worth noting that in July-August the 15th Brigade started frantically painting over identification signs on almost all of their vehicles.
The Russian military painted over their identification signs of their vehicles
And here are the same vehicles in Valuisky County near the Ukrainian border (direction Rovenki / Troitskoye)
Now let’s take a look at firearms of the Vityaz Battalion. Here are Glushko and his companions (some of whom look very similar to his fellow soldiers in the 15th Brigade). The photo is dated September 16:
LNR’s Vityaz Battalion, AKA the 15th Separate Motorized Rifle Brigade, town of Roschinsky, Samara., v/ch 90600 with Vintorez sniper rifles
Let’s take a closer look at the original picture: https://pp.vk.me/c623219/v623219052/a804/wk2opSi7-SA.jpg
Here you can see LNR’s Vityaz Battalion’s logo on the chevrons and St. Georges ribbons [black and orange – Transl.] It seems that the same 15th Brigade just changed into “separatists” outfits. Two silenced sniper rifles VSS Vintorez shown in the photo, a firearm that is specific to the Russian Army, also confirms the regular military is involved. It can not be found among ordinary militia because: (1) its high price (starts at $10,000 vs. the $1,000-2,000 for the standard SVD sniper rifle), (2) its caliber (9mm), which is rare for field use, (3) its silencer and (4) its short range (up to 400 meters).
A simple separatist militiamen would never come across anything like this. The firearm is only used by reconnaissance units of the Russian Armed Forces and by Russian intelligence services.
As you can see, Russian professional military personnel with Russian weapons, unique to the regular army, fight within the ranks of the LNR. They use Russian heavy equipment with obscured/erased identification marks.