Thursday, May 22, 2014

The helicopter fired upon the green van of the attackers.

UPDATED 24-5 (new looped video; new photo with position of green van; new conclusions)

Thorough analysis if the video images from the soldier on location of the attack in Volnovakha, has revealed that the helicopter pilot  was firing on the green van of the attackers and not at the soldiers.
You can find all the videos of this incident here.

In the video of the soldier from 00:11 to 00:19 and from 2:15 to 2:42 the green van can be seen behind the two white cars and behind the trees. Both backdoors are shut.
On frame 2:29:19, it looks like this:

In the video of the car passing by, such green car can also be seen (it was still BEFORE the big explosion):

The video is slowed for convenience. Notice that as well the backdoor as the sidedoor are open.

After this green car, another lower white car can be seen (frame 00:40:05), although barely visible. This is a normal car, not a van.

At the end of the soldier-video, after 7:45 the soldier gives us a view on the road, where many people have gathered:

A white van can be seen and several other cars. They must have arrived in the mean time. The green van is not here.
A view in the other direction shows that a new APC has arrived with a Ukrainian flag:

Unfortunately this APC blocks the view onto the location were the green van previously was.

Later that day the attackers showed what they had looted from the scene:
As you can see, there is a green van there!!!

Andrew pointed out in the comment fields below, that the attackers had previously captured 15 green armored cars from PrivatBank and two of those were used in this attack. Of course such cars are ideal for such purpose...

Now, frame 2:42:02  in the video, the moment the helicopter is firing, basically tells the whole story:

The green van can still just be seen and the trail of the impacts of the machinegun fire in the dirt towards the van can also be seen. But it didn't hit the van.

For conveniece, I add all eleven relevant frames where these shots can be seen.

Frame 2:41:23 t/m 2:42:09

And here is a looping video of it:

In this video it can even be heard and seen, that the helicopter fires a grenade. It explodes at the level of the bush behind the green van, but still misses it. You can see the dust rising, just before the soldier starts talking.

A photo of the aftermath shows a burned out white van, but no green van. It is standing at the level of the Ammo truck.

This is exactly the location where the green van was standing in the drive-by video:

(Notice that the ammo-truck is not burning, nor has exploded yet.)
The burned out white car and the green car must be the same. The helicopter must have hit the green van while the soldier was running away from the scene and the fire eliminated all the paint from the car.

Things we know for sure:
  1. After the drive-by video and before the soldier video, somebody shut the backdoor of the green van.
  2. The white personal car disappeared after the drive-by video.
  3. The helicopters fired at the green van, not at the soldiers.
  4. In the drive-by video one ambulance can already be seen.
Could some attackers still have been at the scene?
That the attackers were still present at the scene can be ruled out now, for the next reasons:

  1. Only one green van could be seen in the drive-by video, meaning that the other one that was shown by the attackers afterwards was already gone.
  2. It also seems unlikely that they would have used a white passenger car for an attack like that.
  3. Also it would be strange that an ambulance is already present while some attacker are still on the location. 
  4. And last: Andrew points out (below) that the commander says on the phone that the attackers are already gone.

Possible scenario
As Andrew points out (below), the helicopters came (long) after the initial attack, probably because they heard the explosions of the ammunition in the burning APCs. Since an ambulance is already present, this seems quite likely. The white car could have been from a local coming to have a look and/or wanting to help.
The pilots must have assessed the situation on their own without good information and assumed there was a threat. They might have recognized the green van as one of the 15 stolen cars and therefor decided to eliminate it.

Questions that remain are:
  1. Why did the attackers have time to loot a really lot of weapons from the scene 
  2. AND why could a local park his car next to the area 
  3. AND why could another local drive by the scene 
  4. AND why could somebody close the door of the green van, 
  5. but NOBODY tried to extinguish the fire or drive away the truck full of ammo?

Some serious food for thought
This event raises some serious questions:
  1. Why did these soldiers allow themselves to be filmed the day before (see first of the videos)?
  2. Why did they not dig in and have guards on the watch?
  3. Why did they not fight back?
  4. Why did they give the attackers all the time they needed for looting?
  5. Why did they not drive the ammo truck from the scene or try to extinguish the fires?
  6. Why can they not distinguish the difference between a helicopter firing UPON them, or a helicopter firing ABOVE THEIR HEADS onto something else?
The answer must be: totally inexperienced and inadequately trained conscripts... And in addition to this (as Andrew pointed out): very poor communication between the different forces.

This is like sending a pack of chihuahuas to deal with a pack of wolves...
And the wolves keep howling: "the Nazis are coming, we have to defend ourselves!!!" Yup...

Also see breakdown of the video of the helicopter.
And This is why it is so dangerous to film Ukrainian positions


  1. Holy shit man, bravo for finding this out with such well-done analysis of the video.

  2. Good propaganda man, I hope Achmetov will give you some grivnas.

  3. White van is a burned-out green van Privatbank?

    1. As can be seen in the video from the driver who was passing the scene, and as I explained above, he passed TWO cars, a green one and a white one.

  4. Good work. But in this RT video (so I can't vouch for the translation) the commander says the reinforcement troops were "extinguishing [a] burning APC". Certainly at the start of the longer 8:05 video you link to, from which the RT one is edited from, it does not appear that the troops or civilians consider themselves under any sort of threat, until the APC ammo starts exploding (which is probably why RT cut it out).

    I think this video is taken some time after the attack - I think I have read it was just after dawn? - certainly giving enough time for the attackers to get away. But that just leaves more questions: why did the attackers not take the armour? and what happened to the green van after this video?

  5. Amazing work, and I agree the helicopters look like they were firing at the green van, but if the rebels were still loading the green van, what were 20 or so soldiers doing in the field by the truck, standing around and squatting, and then jumping in fright when some ammo exploded? I don't think the rebels were still there, because the "a pack of chihuahuas" would have been cowering already.

    Maybe the helicopters thought the exploding ammo was aimed at them, and decided to fire back.

    And why was this "checkpoint" there at all? It doesn't seem to be of any strategic value.

  6. Soldier's video was shot almost two hours after the incident. Green van - is a stolen armored incashment car of PrivatBank - that's why it's painted green. Terrorist stealed 15 of them in Donetsk, two of the where used in this strike. One of them left on the field.
    Helicopter pilot heard explosions from one of two burning APC-s. That's why he started to shoot - to support our troops.
    Greetings from Ukraine.

    1. Thanks for the great addition!
      Two hours seems a lot. Why are most of them still hiding behind APC and truck in the field?
      15 armed PrivatBank cars explains indeed how two similar ones could have been used.
      Questions remain: who closed the door of the green van, where did the white car come from and go to and who set the truck on fire?

    2. They're hiding due to the ammunitions explosions in burning APC. About the van's door - i'm not quite sure it was open at all. This vans is usually entered through the side door. White car could be local citizen's, who stopped to help soldiers. Truck could caught a fire from nearby APC.

    3. For sure the backdoor of the van was open. I'll add a looped video to show it.
      If a local citizen can park his car nearby and somebody can close the door of the green van... then why could they not extinguish the fire or at least drive the truck with ammo from there?

    4. How do you know it was two hours? Where does this information come from?

    5. I've watched a drive by video more thoroughly. You are right - the door is open when bus goes nearby. In the beginning of soldier's video you can see a massive explosion, before the helicopters came in. Other video of this place shows wreckage of APC without a turret. That's likely what ignited the van. Looks like door was closed by fireman's.
      Commander says - ve were extinguishing one of the APCs.
      Why they didn't move ammo truck away? It was already damaged or already on fire? I don't know.
      Civilians a clearly seen in soldier's video, behind a truck.
      White car appears in video for only two or three frames. Maybe it was moving to? But to the opposite side.

    6. I've read about two hours delay from some of our local news sites. I'll try to find the link.

    7. I'm sorry, can't find the proof link. At least - commander by the phone says there's already no terrorist in there, only corpses, and a firetruck came in already.

    8. Ok, fair enough. Thanks again. I can't understand Russian, so you are a great help!

  7. There were no checkpoint in there. This regiment were planning to stay at Volnovakha, but locals didn't allow them. That's why they were forced to stay in a field for a night.
    Actions of helicopters were out of sync with a ground troops. Soldiers thought it's a russian helicopter, so they started to run.

    1. You are right there was indeed no checkpoint.
      The soldiers only started to run when the helicopters started to fire. Maybe at that point they thought they were Russian. Still... they called their own air force to stop it?

    2. Yes. Soldiers thought it's either Russian, or Ukranian one captured by terrorists. Soldier cries loud during the video - that's not ours helicopter! That's not ours! Later commander calls the headquarters to stop helicopter attacks. This situation shows bad coordination between ukrainian army units.

    3. The soldiers in the field clearly thought the helicopters were theirs at first - they wouldn't have been sheltering IN FRONT of the truck otherwise. If the helicopters were not Ukrainian, they would surely have attacked the truck and the soldiers out in the open first, and the tank in the field further away. I think Ukrainian helicopters have two white bands on the tail section to differentiate them from Russian ones.

  8. I did my own research on this attack and have some answers (I hope)
    1. First shooting, when ALL Ukrainian soldiers at this camp were killed or wounded, have ended before 5a.m.
    In this video at 0:50 local man says, that he came there at 5a.m. to help wounded soldiers.
    2. At the time of drive-by video, there was no military presence. Ambulance and civilians were helping wounded.
    3. There was just another military unit at the video with helicopters. These soldiers came later, hours after the attack. Just by the sun position we can assume, that time is about 7-8a.m. or later.
    4. Why helicopter opened fire is unclear. Most plausible version we can hear at 7:40 : "They fired because they thought it's fight here. Just when they arrived it was explosion"
    And this can be true, at 0:28 soldiers noticed helicopters, at 0:30 burning wehicle exploded.

    Sorry for my english, I did my best :)
    Again, greetings from Ukraine


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