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Donbas “separatists” got 33 types of military systems from Russia – report

A modernized version of the T72B Russian tank, used against the Ukrainian forces in the Donbas, was never supplied to Ukraine and could only come from Russia (Image: snapshot from Informnapalm video)
A modernized version of the T72B Russian tank, used against the Ukrainian forces in the Donbas, was never supplied to Ukraine and could only come from Russia (Image: snapshot from Informnapalm video)
Donbas “separatists” got 33 types of military systems from Russia – report

On 11 October 2016, the Ukrainian delegation at PACE informed their colleagues about the presence of 33 Russian weapons systems in Donbas, prepared by the international volunteer community Informnapalm. Out of these, 31 were never produced in Ukraine.

According to Ukrainian MP Iryna Friz, they were shown a video overview prepared by Informnapalm:


The delegates were also handed out a report of Russian weapons systems present in Dnbas (download the pdf here, or view it on Infornapalm’s site).

Though Ukrainian journalists are rarely allowed to visit the uncontrolled regions of Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts, a wealth of information is available from the photos and videos shared in social media accounts of Russian soldiers in Donbas, TV footage from Russian channels, satellite images, and footage of witnesses living on the uncontrolled territory. Over 2014-2016, Informnapalm had been creating a database of recorded incidents and has identified 33 Russian weapons types used by the Russian-backed separatists, directly pointing to the Russian presence in the occupied parts of Luhansk and Donetsk oblasts.

Most of the identified pieces are relatively new types which entered service with the Russian Army from 2004 to 2015. Only data confirmed with photo or video evidence was included in the report.

The report includes many electronic warfare and signals intelligence systems, which can be operated by only by qualified personnel. This gives reason to assume that they have not been transferred to the armed groups of the separatists, but are operated and maintained by professional Russian servicemen. 

Informnapalm notes that most of the identified pieces are relatively new types which entered service with the Russian Army from 2004 to 2015. There are several pieces of the latest Russian military hardware in Donbas, which suggests that the Russian military command is testing out its operations in Donbas. At the same time, many pieces are old Soviet equipment which was phased out of service in the Ukrainian Army.



Informnapalm identified 5 Russian tanks in the hybrid Russian-separatist army that were never supplied to Ukraine: variations of the T-72B (T-72B 1989 model, T-72BA 1999 model, T-72B3 2011 model, the T-72S1, which Russia supplied to Iran and Venezuela) and the T-90A (2006 model). Informnapalm also identified the Russian Army brigades operating the vehicles: the 5th and 6th Armored Brigades, the 21st and 136th Motorized Rifle Brigades.

Multiple Rocket Launch Systems

The 2B26 Grad-K was never supplied to Ukraine; 9K58 Smerch is in service in the Ukrainian Army, but there are no facts of it being captured by the Russian-separatist forces.

Surface-to-air missile systems

9K330 Tor, 9K331 Tor M-1 and 9K332 Tor M-2 tactical surface-to-air missile systems  were phased out by the Ukrainian Army in 2001, and there was no evidence that this unit was captured by the Russian-backed separatists. The 96K6 Pantsir-S1 had never been in service in the Ukrainian Army.

This list will be soon updated with the Buk 332 from the Russian 53d Anti-Aircraft Missile Brigade, which shot down Malaysian flight MH17, as revealed by the latest Joint Investigation Team report.

Infantry mobility vehicles

Informnapalm identified four types of Russian IMVs in Donbas: the GAZ-233014 Tigr, GAZ-3937 Vodnik, and BTR-82A which were never supplied to Ukraine, and the KAMAZ-43269 Vystrel, an IMV used during Russia’s invasion of Georgia. One KAMAZ-43269-Vystrel from Russian-occupied South Ossetia was identified in Luhansk, pinpointed by its vehicle number.

Military trucks

Three trucks never supplied to Ukraine were identified in Donbas: Ural-632301Ural-43206, and KamAZ-5350 Mustang.

Battlefield surveillance radar

The 1RL232-2M Leopard, a sophisticated  ground-based battlefield surveillance radar station capable of detecting ground and marine surface targets, artillery shell bursts, moving convoys, single ground, surface and low-flying moving targets, was unveiled at a 2014 Russian defense exhibition. It was never supplied to Ukraine.

Electronic Warfare

Sophisticated systems for detecting and jamming mobile satellite communication, radar, and navigation systems, as well as protecting transmitted data, give away the scale of the planning of Russia’s invasion in Donbas, as these stations can only be operated by qualified personnel. Informnapalm identified seven stations that have never been supplied to Ukraine, one of which is brand new, not even having finished tests in the Russian Army: the RB-341V Leer-3 (unveiled in 2015), R-378B Borisoglebsk-2, R-934UM, R-330Zh Zhitel, Rtut-BM (entered service in the Russian Army in 2013), RB-636AM2 Svet-KU (entered service in the Russian Army in 2012), Torn (currently in testing in the Russian Army).

Radio stations

Three Russian radio stations, never supplied to Ukraine, are designed to provide countermeasures-safe communication for military units and separate objects of operational and operational-strategic command levels were identified in Donbas: the Kushetka-B R-149BMR command vehicle, R-441-OV Liven mobile satellite station, and P-166-0,5 radio station.

Unmanned Aerial Vehicles

Six Russian UAVs that have never been supplied to the Ukrainian Army were identified in Donbas: Granat-1 and Granat-2 with an operating range of 15 km, Eleron-3SV (operating range of 25 km), Orlan-10 (120 km), and two UAVs that are licensed copies of Israeli drones: the Zastava (10 km) and Forpost (250 km).

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