Sunday, July 17, 2016

How MH17 changed the Russian war in Ukraine

On July 17th 2014 MH17 was downed by a BUK-M1 missile launched south of Snizhne. This happened in the middle of the war between Russia and Ukraine, that the Russian propaganda machine franticly tried and tries to portray as a civil war it has nothing to do with.

Ukraine has similarly franticly been blamed for the downing of MH17, by Russian propaganda, MOD and government alike. In the worst case the public opinion and MSM think it was 'an accident by inexperienced separatists who didn't know how to handle the BUK given to them and wrongly pushed the launch-button'.

In this blog I want to investigate what effect the MH17-downing had on the war. At what moment did it happen and how did it change the war?

A brief summary of the war before MH17
After 'Maidan' and the killing of the heavenly hundred, some sort of 'local uprising' began in the Eastern provinces of Ukraine, where a lot of ethnic Russians reside. There was a lot of violent provocation, defection, bribing, propaganda and you name it.
The focus (or frontline) was on Slovyansk and Kramatorsk. But clashes where also in Mariupol, Donetsk, Luhansk, Horlivka and all the border crossings.

In response Ukraine started the Anti Terrorist Operation or ATO. After a troublesome and deadly start they managed to surround Sloviansk and liberate it together with Kramatorsk.
In early July the Ukrainian army advanced all along the border up to Izvarino tot try to cut of and control the border with Russia, through which men, supplies and equipment poured into Ukraine.
It looked like Ukraine was doing very well and might indeed be able to get the job done, although their troops were dangerously exposed and stretched along a long frontline.

At the level of Marinovka fierce battles happened all the time to try to cut off the Ukrainian border troops.
A rich supply of MANPADs meant that a lot of Ukrainian aircrafts got shot down and Russia was delivering heavier AA equipment such as Strela-10 and later Panzir as well.

Yet, despite the problems it's Air FOrce and border troops where facing, the Ukrainian Army was on the winning hand.

Something had to be done to turn the tide and so Russia started to shell the Ukrainian border units from Russian soil, but of course portrayed this as 'separatists artillery'. On July 16th videos emerged from Russian GRADs near Gukovo firing into Ukraine. Russia could no longer hide its involvement if this would widely become known. The next day MH17 was shot down.

A Russian BUK was driven into Ukraine and it shot down a passenger plane. It looked like the separatists made a mistake, because they thought it was an AN-26 but it turned out to be a civilian plane.
But the MH17-BUK was positioned very close to the Russian border and later it became clear that a Russian BUK battery was operational near the Ukrainian border. They easily could have communicated with the MH17-BUK and given it data and instructions.

The war after MH17
Directly after MH17 Ukraine started their next phase and tried to surround Donetsk, Horlivka and Luhansk, the biggest cities in the area. But their border units got completely crushed by Russian artillery across the border and crossing the border. Still their was euphoria among the Ukrainian staff and volunteer units where ordered to advance to Ilovaisk and Shaktarsk.
Also it looks like Ukraine tried to liberate and secure the MH17 crash site, so international investigation could be done, but they never succeeded in doing so.

The volunteer battalions got heavy resistance and this turned out to be because of large invasions from Russian into Ukraine. The first East of Marinovka, the second south of Ilovaisk and the third towards Lugansk Airport. Eventually this crushed and decimated the Ukrainian units there.

So after MH17 Ukraine was dramatically loosing the war.

Up till today Russia is still denying involvement, but two huge Russian operations changed the war:
  1. cross-border and crossing-border artillery
  2. major invasions by the Russian Army

Minsk peace negotiations tried to stop the parties from fighting, but for Russia this was more part of their plan, to stop Ukraine to retaliate, fight back or attack in an unexpected area.

Thus Russia could concentrate their attack forces on grabbing Donetsk Airport and Debaltseve one by one.

Turning point
The downing of #MH17 happened literally in the turning point of the war. Before the downing Ukraine was winning. After the downing Ukraine was loosing big time.

But what is the connection?

When Russia took Crimea, the whole world was looking their trying to figure out what was happening with these unidentified little green man claiming to be 'self-defence'. When it started to turn out these were Russian soldiers and thus Russia was taking over Crimea... MH370 got lost over the ocean.
All the attention of the world turned away from Crimea towards the search for MH370. Putin could easily finish the job without getting disturbed.

The downing of MH370 was an operation of 'military precision'. People EXACTLY had to know what they were doing (such as turning off the transponder) in order to have MH370 get lost.

Whether you want to believe MH370 was an accident or a deliberate Russian operation, it for sure was a distraction to the Crimea invasion anyway.

With the world looking at Donbass and becoming aware of the Russian involvement a distraction was needed. And there were two. The downing of MH17 was a distraction for the cross-border artillery attacks and the White Truck Charade at Russian Donetsk was a distraction for the invasion East of Marinovka and later Ilovaisk.

A Russian Operation
As a distraction for the cross-border shellings, MH17 was a Russian operation the separatists did not need to be aware of. Why would Russia tell 'local warlords' or even it's own military personnel working there what exactly it's mission was? Even Russian soldiers invading Ukraine were told they were going on an exercise. Downing a civilian plane is a secret mission as little people as possible need to know details of. Not even the Russian crew in the BUK needed to know the exact purpose of their mission. All they had to do was to connect and communicate with the Russian BUK battery near Kuybyshevo and follow orders. And furthermore tell everybody an AN26 was downed and get out of there asap.

The downing of MH17 happened in the middle of the turning point of the war. Before MH17 Ukraine was winning, after they were loosing.
The MH17 BUK was able to (and therefore must have) connect(ed) with the Russian BUKs. The crew could have gotten data and instructions from their colleagues and superiors within Russia.
The effect of the MH17 downing was that Ukraine's air force got paralyzed and nobody was interested to learn about Russia's cross-border shellings.
As such Russia had a perfect motive to have committed this crime.

Friday, June 10, 2016

Google Earth shows Russian T-90s near Lugansk Airport

It has been a long debate whether Russian T-90s were involved in the battle for Lugansk Airport. But by now we can be sure they did.

First T-90 sighting
It started with this article from Inform Napalm.

This photo (unfortunately) has never been able to be geolocated anywhere:

But these photos from the same soldier were:

In this article from sled_vzayt it was geolocated like this:

The photo was taken like this:

On the Octobre 3rd satellite image tracks can be seen (red arrows) that can not be seen on the August 31st image:

It means these tanks passed this location AFTER August 31st.

The question is: is it a T-90 too or not?

User sled_vzayt shows with some excellent pictures that the item in front of the photo is an T-90 ammo box:

That same type of ammo box can be seen on other photos of T-90s thought to have been sent into Ukraine:

Notice the green paint on the boxes, but also note the patterns of the paint are not the same and thus these are not the same T-90s.

T-90 convoy driving in Ukraine towards Lugansk
Another group of photos on that blog shows a convoy of T-90s driving towards Lugansk, Ukraine:

T-90 near Lugansk Airport
A third sighting of T-90 in Ukraine is reported by Interpreter magazine, with these photos from the same social media account:

That last photo #3 has been geolocated in front of and on the road to Lugansk Airport:

Note the road leading to the left in the third photo, what means the position must be as indicated.

The T-90 photo should be somewhere out there too.
Note that the sun/light comes from (slightly left of) the side of the cameraman. This means the T-90 must be at the southern side of a tree line.
That treeline seems to be a single line, not a forest.
Also note that the ground on the right side of the photo is burned.

The most likely spot is somewhere around here:

The Feb 23rd 2015 satellite image shows dozens of tracks leading to and from that area:

It means we have these three locations (orange ellipses) where T-90s have been spotted:

When we compare the green paint patterns on the ammo-boxes, we see this:

The patterns are very different, but the pattern on the upper ammo box (from the 'ammo box photo' near the Lugansk traffic sign) matches with the pattern of the first out of four others (from the Lugansk Airport photo).
This is more proof that the 'ammo box photo' indeed is a T-90. But, assuming the 'ammo box T-90' also travelled in the convoy, it also shows from which directing it might have come (East).

Google Earth shows T-90s
Remember that the August 31st satellite image shows AN ACTUAL BATTLE for Lugansk Airport going on? See this blog.
It means the T-90s must be out there somewhere...!

It just happened to be so that I missed out on one position in that blog :-(. 
We can start at the known 'ammo box photo' position. On the 31st the T-90s had not reached that position yet, because the tracks only appear on a later date. We know the convoy was seen in the East. So the T-90s most likely came from... the East :P. And East of that position is a small village called Ternove.
This is how Ternove looks like on August 31st:

There is lot's of armor there (red circles)! BMPs, trucks, BTRs, maybe BMDs.
But there are also a couple of big fat tanks (yellow circles). It's simple: those must be the T-90s.

The two on the bottom have a truck next to them, so they seem to get new supplies.

There is a good reason why Russia deployed T-90s against Ukraine near Lugansk airport. Ukraine had sent it's best tanks there too: the T-64 Bulat.

This seems to be the approximate route the T-90s had traveled:

Either the red route, or even the orange one.

Friday, May 13, 2016

Newly published satellite images show Russian BUK battery East of Kuybyshevo was operational before July 20th 2014

New Google Earth maps reveal that the Russian BUK-battery East of Kuybyshevo was already operational during July 2014.
That means the BUK that shot down MH17 could have communicated with the ones on Russian soil.

Here is an earlier publication of this BUK-battery, so we can be sure it was there.

Up till now we only had satellite image from 2013 and then September 4th 2014. Now images of 29-6, 2-7, 20-7 and 4-8 have been added.

What has been done to create the images in this blog is to trace every unique track and position on every subsequent satellite image where it FIRST appears. If it's also on the next map, it is further ignored, although it doesn't mean it hasn't been also used on that date. Also commonly used tracks and roads are ignored.
By using this method, we can see unique activity that must have happened before any specific satellite date.

Red lines = unique tracks
Red areas = areas where vehicles can be seen
Orange areas = areas where multiple tracks can be seen, likely indicating a deployment position
Green areas = tracks into/from treelines indicating (abandoned) campsites.


Not much can be seen, but there are two noticeable areas. The first is at the known BUK-team position (green area), where they had a kitchen and dug-in trenches.

Electricity poles run from left to right on the image above and there are tracks leading to/from these poles. So it is very well possible that on June 29th a team was already there making preparations, or already positioned and waiting.

The other suspicious area is this one:

Clearly tracks can be seen of a heavy machine manoeuvring in the corn. Because of the corn the tracks are obscured, but they are still so profound that they are still visible.
Farmers don't damage their own corn like that. Military vehicles do.

On the July 2nd image only a rare new track can be seen in the north:

For the rest there is not happening anything.

On the July 20th map (2 days after MH17 was shot down), several new tracks can be seen:

There is a big one leading to the trenched position (green). And there are several tracks (red lines) and positions with multiple tracks and turns (orange areas). 
Note that the July 20th map ends at 1/3 of the bottom. It's only the darker area. The lighter bottom part is from the July 2nd image. That's why the red track leading to/from the trenches can not be traced further down.

The orange area at the right looks like this:

We can clearly see vehicle tracks arriving and leaving the area again, as well as positions where they must have been deployed and operated. It is possible that multiple vehicles where deployed here at the same time, or that one or more visited the same spot again on another day and a little bit further from the previous position.

This is the middle orange area/position:

In the upper side we can see one position similar to the four we saw in the previous area. This is an indication that only one vehicle caused all these different tracks on different days.

This is the left orange area:

Not much can be seen, because it is covered with layers of mist/clouds. Only one small part of a track can be seen, along the red line in the area.

The August 2nd image shows all the tracks:

Because part of the tracks where already visible on the July 20th image, all of them must have been made on the 20th of July.

They just look like tracks, although it can not be 100% excluded that it was a deployment area. Either way it shows their was activity here.

These tracks and positions are a clear indication that the BUK-battery was fully operational before July 20th.

In the two weeks up to August 2nd some more activity can be seen: 

Very close to the upper right area on the July 20th image some more similar activity can be seen:

The upper left positions look like this:

Clear positioning and manoeuvring can be observed, but not necessarily by multiple vehicle on one day.

In the south of the area there has been activity too:

Since the July 20th image did not include this area, it might as well have been from an earlier date then July 20th. It's unclear what exactly happened here.

Up to September 4th their has been a lot of activity North, in the middle and in the East near the lake:

During August major Russian invasions and offensives took place in Ukraine, so a lot of activity is logical.

The upper red area shows very intensive use (image enhanced):

As well as some objects/vehicles (yellow circles).

In the middle there is a red area that looks like this (enhanced image):

It is also intensively used and for the first time vehicles can be seen (yellow circles). The upper one near the blue vehicle icon seems to show BUK vehicles, but the usual white tips of the missiles can't be seen:

Near the lake in the East several trucks can be seen at a campsite in the trees:

Most likely this is a basecamp for some GRAD launcher company, since North of it several GRAD launch sites with burn marks can be seen as well as a lots of tracks leading up further North:

The American ambassador to Ukraine @GeoffPyatt tweeted about one of these launch sites:
Therefor it seems very unlikely that these tracks North of the road and the lake-camp have anything to do with the BUK battery.

The activities in the area can be separated into the northern part and southern part:

Up north it looks like this:

Tents and vehicles can be seen.

A little bit westward some very typical lined up positions can be seen as well as a single truck in the field:

In the South something big is going on:

Up to nine very long trucks can be seen hidden between the trees. In the other red areas, tents and more vehicles can be seen:


Strangely enough all the activity in the south ceased to exist by October 6th except for some tracks:

In the middle area a lot of white and other small trucks can be seen:

In the upper area the whole battery of BUKs can be seen lined up:

Here the white tips from the missiles CAN be seen.
With this particular line up it seems likely that the strange patterns on the 14-9 image nearby are also from these BUKs parked in the field.
Why they do this..., I have no idea. As if they WANTED satellites to capture them :P.

On the Febr 22th 2015 image a VERY LARGE camp can be seen South:

Just a part of it:

The timing of this camp is during the Debaltseve offensive. That started by the end of January and lasted until February 18th. So it looks like this camp existed to support this offensive.
The green areas show activity, but no vehicles can be seen anymore. These vehicles therefore most likely had been sent to Debaltseve in the previous weeks. 

The middle area had a significant upgrade (image enhanced):

But it is hard to tell if the BUKs are really there. The vehicles in the upper part more resemble MLRS than a BUK:

The northern area seems abandoned.

When we draw all the activity in one map, we see this:

The Area of Operation for the BUK-battalion is within the yellow ellipse with a concentration in the light blue ellipse.
The large blue ellipse is more than once used as a camping ground. It seems by february 2015 to also have included or merged with the smaller blue area. Whether the BUK-battery was still operational by that time is unclear, but there is a good chance it relocated or even stopped.

The July 20th activity TOTALLY falls within the narrower Area of Operation of the BUK battery (light blue ellipse):

Therefore we should conclude that these tracks are also made by the same BUK battery.

Tracks visible on a July 20th satellite image are made PRIOR to that date. They had been made anywhere between June 29th and July 20th.
It is safe to assume that the BUK battery was already there and operational on the fatal July 17th.

That means it was on 25 kms distance of the BUK launch site that brought down MH17. An ideal distance to setup communications with the BUKs on Russian soil.

Most likely this Russian BUK battery communicated with the MH17-BUK and got it's data and final instruction from Russians commanders within Russia territory themselves.

Right from the start after MH17 was taken down, I said there must have been a Russian BUK battery South of Marinovka.
Then I found positions West of Kuybyshevo with radars.
Then images of BUKs East of Kuybyshevo appeared posted on VK.
Then satellite images appeared showing BUKs parked in a row for all to see.

The sceptical, truthers and trolls kept arguing on and on.

Now I have found (with a little help from Google and such) evidence the battery was indeed operational during that fatal day.

The crash of MH17 was not a coincidence...

Now there are also a 16-7 and 23-7 map of the area in Google Earth.

The 16-7 map confirms what we already thought. That the southern activity was not from after 20-7, but before:

The inset on the bottom right might actually be a BUK (with the white tips of the missiles merged together):

The activity in the northern area can not be observed on the 16-7 map. And thus this activity has been taken place between 16-7 and 20-7:

Do you appreciate this and other articles? Do you think it is important that this information is published?
I'm not working for a newspaper or magazine. If you sponsor me, you help me to keep this blog up and running.
See the Paypal Donate-button in the top right side of this blog or subscribe in the About-me-section.