An international group of investigators Bellingcat published a report containing new evidence of Russian military involvement in the conflict in Eastern Ukraine. We are talking about artillery shelling positions of Ukrainian troops, reports BBC.
Bellingcat has already published research on this topic – for example, in February 2015; however, as the team leader Elliot Higgins, then they tried to focus all the attention on the study of circumstances of accident Malaysian “Boeing”, and that report was not very detailed.
The current document States that the panel found 149 cases of shelling of Ukrainian territory from Russia in the summer of 2014. Another 130 spaces marked as probable positions of the Russian artillery.
The group claims that there is no exact data it publishes and the smallest numbers from the resultant analysis.
The decision about each of the possible positions took two analysts, and it recognized “probable” only if both experts agree with this.
Bellingcat says about 408 objects, the shelling which was carried out across the border from Russia. 127 of them are within a three-kilometer border zone. The number released in the summer of 2014 shells, according to the group amounted to thousands of units.
The report’s authors come to the conclusion that the Russian army began to bombard the territory of Ukraine from the beginning of July 2014, and the intensity of the shelling increased in August and September of the same year; the attacks were conducted throughout the border in the Donetsk and Luhansk obslast.
The frequency and density of attacks, according to Bellingcat, cannot be considered as errors, or independent action of the individual parts – the paper concludes that it is more reminiscent of open hostilities.
The report emphasizes that the purpose of its publication is not to prove that such attacks had taken place, and to demonstrate the magnitude of this force.
At the same time, insist the members of the group, they used only open sources: satellite images with different services for different dates, videos, which are published on the Internet as well as eyewitness accounts.
The analysis was based on the method that was used in the preparation of the previous report.
It allows the funnel to set the direction from which it was fired.
Using this technology, investigators studied the scene of fire and calculated a kind of average trajectory, which is likely the projectiles or missiles to this place.
Then, after examining the surface along this path, they found fresh footprints, which could indicate that this place was under fire: scorched grass, the wheel marks on the ground and so on.
The turning radius of the machines, according to the report, the experts found estimated the type of system that could cause from this place a shot.
According to Bellingcat, with the help of geo-location they were able to establish the exact coordinates of the start and direction of flight of missiles and shells.
After that, they found the satellite images of those districts in which the firing was conducted.
However, the report noted weaknesses of this technology.
According to the authors, often the satellite images of the likely artillery positions were not available either between the shooting and the alleged date of attack was a long time.
The researchers acknowledge that they could not examine all the craters that were visible, and took only certain part, which also reduces the accuracy of the calculations.
Finally, according to them, sometimes the firing was carried out at the site, the surface of the earth which is not allowed to determine the direction, as the funnels were small or poorly expressed.
When checking the dates of the satellite images in the Bellingcat identified when and where was increasing the intensity of the attacks.
Members of the group believe that the density of fire in different areas coincided with the intensification of hostilities.
In June 2014, the Ukrainian army has tried to cover the territory controlled by the rebels in the Donetsk region – then the attack was carried out along the border with Russia. This approach has been very successful, and Ukrainian troops were able to almost cut off the territory of the DNI and LC relations with Russia.
At the end of June-early July, the report says, began shelling the territory controlled by Ukrainian troops. Targets of attacks from the territory of Russia, the document says, was the position of the Ukrainian military warehouses and supply routes.
The most powerful, according to them, was the firing of rockets on Ukrainian positions under zelenopolyem July 11, 2014 that killed about two dozen of the military. While not directly Bellingcat claims that this shelling was carried out from the territory of Russia.
Then, in early August the fighting had reached a turning point – Ukrainian forces retreated, leaving the territory along the Russian border.
In the course of the fighting in this area, the authors of the report, many attacks were carried out from the territory of Russia.
Previously Bellingcat conducted a series of investigations associated somehow with the conflict in Eastern Ukraine.
The largest was the investigation into the death of flight MH17, which was shot down from anti-aircraft Buk-M1, which arrived from Russia.
Was previously published a report which, based on analysis of photos and satellite imagery of border areas, they concluded that the Russian military involvement in the fighting in the East of Ukraine.
A separate study was devoted to analysis of Russian military awards medals. It said that during the most bitter fighting in Russia saw a surge in awards.
The authors of the report “Russian soldiers in Ukraine: the devil is in the medals,” concluded that “military operations in Eastern Ukraine was attended by much more than 10 thousand Russian military.”
Russia officially denies the involvement of its military in the conflict in Ukraine and the evidence that lead to the Ukrainian authorities, international experts and journalists, calls untenable.