Monday, January 5, 2015

Russian Gvozdika 122 mortar team on standby near MH17 crash area

A certain Vladimir Vladimirovich from Russia has a bunch of photos on his VK-album showing a team of Russian self-propelled mortars and support vehicles near a slagheap in Ukraine, date January 3rd:

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This concerns 2S1 Gvozdika 122mm self-propelled howitzers. See this link for info on them.

@5urpher has geolocated this here on Wikimapia.

The vehicles can be positioned like this on the map:

Pink line = electricity line
Red car = self-propelled mortar
Orange car = mt-lb command vehicle
Yellow cars = trucks

The pattern of bushes can be matched:

One photo shows the tower of a mine on the background:

That tower can be seen in this Panoramio photo from a different angle:

It is in the line of sight of how that photo was taken:

That location is at the edge of the MH17 crash site:

Green area = MH17 crash site
Yellow line = approximate front line

All this equipment comes from Russia. The people on the photos give the impression that those are locals. But appearances me be misleading. Russian regular army invading, occupying and annexing Crimea were also called 'self-defence'. Russia recruits and trains soldiers from all over their hemisphere to fight in Ukraine. And thus locals are also very welcome. Yet, this is NOT a local affair. It is a Russian operation. And thus this is a 'Russian' army unit.

This team is are clearly not in a firing position (yet). They seem to be at an assembly point. Yet, they are deployed outside and could fire within minutes if necessary. They are likely on a stanby notice here.

The position is very close to the MH17 crash area. Instead of avoiding this area with heavy mortars, they seem to seek it. If they would receive return fire, they can play the blame-Ukraine-card again.

Since this is just 3,5 kms from the frontline, it is a clear violation of the Minsk-agreements where it said that heavy artillery should be retreated 30 kms from the demarcation line.

Also see: Google Earth shows Russians used MH17 crash area intensively for firing MLRS

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