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.

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