Sunday, August 30, 2015

Are There 35,000 Russian Soldiers In Eastern Ukraine?

Business Insider/XX Committee: Ukraine just published detailed intelligence of Russian troop movements and equipment

Today the office of Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko released via Twitter important details about the organization and structure of Russia’s occupying army in Southeastern Ukraine. The order of battle (ORBAT) information is clearly derived from a lot of intelligence, especially SIGINT (I say this as someone who used to do ORBAT intelligence for a living: this is well done).

Since most of my readers know neither Russian or Ukrainian, I’m passing on what Kyiv has released today in English. The translation isn’t great but it works. I’m providing comments below since most normals are not well acquainted with the nuances of Russian military organization.

WNU Editor: If there were 35,000 Russian soldiers in eastern Ukraine .... the OSCE, independent journalists and news organizations, including social media .... they would be seeing this and reporting on this non-stop. And while it is true that both sides in this conflict are hindering outside observers to the conflict .... Both sides in Ukraine conflict hinder observers, OSCE says (Deutsche Welle) .... hiding 35,000 Russian soldiers with their Russian accent, equipment, supply trucks and depots, and coupled with their massive numbers .... to say that I am sceptical about this Ukrainian government report is an understatement.

As I keep on telling everyone .... do not reflexively accept the news that is now coming out from the Ukraine conflict. Both sides are engaged in a massive disinformation campaign .... and they are not reliable. That is why I am now only posting links from independent news organizations and monitoring groups on this war .... and even then I am sometimes wondering if their reports are true.

Case in point .... the OSCE is following and monitoring the conflict closely, and their daily news releases are a must read if a person wants to better understand the conflict (their link is here). As to a Russian military presence .... they have reported on what they believe are a few Russian solderers guarding a depot in Doentsk, a few suspicious military convoys of supplies, and Cargo 200 trucks (Russian vehicles used to carry the dead) .... but they have certainly not seen 35,0000 Russian soldiers. But like I said before .... their observations are being restricted .... who knows what is happening deep in the woods.

As to who do I completely trust on this conflict .... I only trust what my family, friends, and associates who are still in Ukraine are saying. But even then .... when they discuss the conflict with me on the phone and/or on Skype .... I know that they are very careful on what they are saying .... all communications are being monitored in Ukraine, and saying the wrong thing can get you in serious trouble.

Hat Tip to Dave for the above Business Insider/XX Committee report.


Hope for the West said...

You obviously have much better sources on what's going on in Ukraine than most people (obviously me, some guy on the internet). How many Russians do you think are in or have been in Ukraine? From what I've seen in actual videos (the excellent Vice video using social media for example) I wouldn't guess the regular Russian army is there at all, only Special Forces providing mostly material and advisory support similar to Green Berets training indigenous forces.

War News Updates Editor said...

I concur Hope For The West .... Simon Ostrovsky from VICE has done some excellent reporting in Ukraine. My gut is telling me that there are a few hundred Russian special forces there, plus a few hundred regular .... but if the fighting intensifies .... this number will go up but not as much as the Ukraine government likes to paint.

B.Poster said...


I've found that even with all of the information available to us today through the internet and other media sources containing every point of view imaginable I still sometimes have to rely on my "gut" to try and ascertain the true nature of various situations. I've long felt that to be a weakness.

Perhaps it is not. Since you've said your "gut" is telling you the number of Russian troops operating in Ukraine is a few hundred special forces and a few hundred regular forces it would seem you sometimes find yourself in a similar situation that I find myself in. For someone with your experience to be in this situation makes me feel a little better about having about sometimes having to rely on my "gut" to understand things. I just hope and pray my "gut" is accurate as I'm sure you do to!!

I would tend to agree that there are not 35,000 Russian troops in Ukraine. I tend to think the numbers you suggest are closer to the real number. Also, if the rebels and pro-Russian forces are receiving advisory support from Russian forces, they are receiving this support from the world's very best Which would make them a very formidable force to defeat to say the least.

With that said, if anyone could pull off inserting 35,000 troops into a neighboring country unnoticed, Mr. Putin and Russia could do so. Furthermore even if there are 35,000 Russian forces in Ukraine and it could actually be proven no one is actually going to believe that at this point. As such, even such numbers are accurate which seems unlikely the Ukrainian government would do well not to make such claims and instead focus on other areas where it may be able to gain support. Surely there position is strong enough that they do not need to resort to such outlandish claims.

Perhaps it is not. This seems to be a corrupt government run by incompetent boobs and not worthy of the support of reasonable people. When people in the US and the "west" supported this government they looked before they leaped and did not do the proper diligence on just who they are supporting.

The same applies to the Ukrainian government. they did not properly think through the consequences of alienating Russia or their eastern population who has strong pro-Russian sentiments. Frankly the sooner America can extricate itself from this one the better. Then again all of this could be my "gut!!"