"In early summer, the situation of pro-Russian forces left much to be desired. There were no more situations similar to the April capture of paratroopers with armored vehicles. Ukrainian army units with weapons did not go over to the side of Girkin's "peaceful Donbas workers" and the company, and did not surrender the weapons but used them against the enemy. There was a drastic lack of heavy equipment. In order to successfully confront the Armed Forces of Ukraine, the visiting revolutionaries needed tanks. For this purpose, T-64BV suited best of all. This is the main tank type in the Ukrainian army. Besides, in the Soviet times, it had been manufactured by Kharkiv Malyshev Plant. So with T-64BV it is easy to declare that a tank is Ukrainian, it was captured from Armed Forces of Ukraine, and Russia has nothing to do with it as this model is not adopted in the Russian Army. The last statement is even true: although there are tens of hundreds of T-64 in various modifications in Russian warehouses, the army has long ago removed them from armament and they are not used any more (in Russia, tank monopoly belongs to Uralvagonzavod and its T-72). T-64BV tanks namely were the first to come from Russia to Ukraine. On June 12, the first trial group of three T-64BVs successfully passed on their own from east to west through Snizhne, Torez, and Makiivka to Donetsk:
On that day, due to their inexperience, the 'DPR' has acknowledged that they "got three tanks for armament," keeping modest silence from whom they were received.
On June 20, Russia brought in the next tank column to Donbas - five T-64BVs. As informational support on June 19-20, Russian media actively replicated the news piece "Mercenaries captured a tank base near Sloviansk," which was subsequently disproved by them.
These five T-64BVs became one of the most illustrative blunders of the Russian military. T-64 can easily get lost in Ukraine against the background of the same T-64 of the Ukrainian army. Another thing is to find good-order, duly equipped T-64 tanks (again, the T-64 are the tanks not used in the army of the Russian Federation) on Russian roads.
Of course, T-64s in Russia can be transported for disposal or to a firing ground to play the role of natural targets. However, in this case, household troops remove everything what can be removed from the tanks. This is clearly seen in a photo from 2013: dismantled tool boxes, side skirts, infrared illuminator, anti-aircraft machine gun, various attachments, no active armor, the tank is driven by civilian contractors' vehicle.
Let's get back to the five T-64BVs and June 20.
Photojournalist Evgeniy Maloletka takes pictures of some of them close to Debaltseve:
On June 21, two others are photographed in Horlivka:
Specialists will immediately notice poor and lamely installed active protection systems (rectangular boxes marked with red lines) on the sides of some of these T-64BVs. As if someone has tried to imitate "self-made," or there was no standard fabrication at hand:
Standard location of active armor units on T-64BV looks completely different:
Now let's compare these T-64BV tanks with T-64BVs, which were transported by military trucks, accompanied by Russian military traffic police cars in the border areas of Russia on June 19 (it is recommended to save and share all videos, as they are cleaned up by government people):
Quite predictably it turns out that T-64BVs on Russian trucks from M4 "Don" highway on June 19 and T-64BVs under the separatists' flags in Ukrainian cities in the Donbas on June 20 are the same. Two of them are with the standard dynamic protection on the sides, three of them have self-made protection, on turret tops there are some stores covered with tarpaulin:
The second video, in addition to capturing the tank which was in Horlivka on June 21, shows the location of the column at the time of the shooting:
And the final touch on the reviewed column - two photos from "VKontakte" social network users, who took pictures of them on the same highway M4 "Don" and uploaded to the Internet on June 19-20. There are two more evidence on these tanks, two other captured places of shooting:
In this photo one can even see a blue "7" on the spotlight lid (to the right from the gun):
Nothing has changed since June and up to now; convoys of trucks with tanks T-64 keep coming from Russia to the Donbas.
July, M4 highway, Oktyabr district of the Rostov region:
July, M4 highway, Krasnosulinsky district, the Rostov region:
July, same M4 highway on the video:
In November. Near Sambek, the Rostov region:
In Kamensk-Shakhtinsk, the Rostov region:
This month near Sambek:
A couple days ago on Rostov-Taganrog highway:
It should be noted that in summer, Russian motor troops made no special secret of driving up the tanks to the border (where they were subsequently unloaded and went on their own to Ukraine). There are enough photos in social networks where trawl drivers pose in front of T-64s:
For some tanks (for example, this "Cossack" labeled either "LPR" or "DPR" on the front of the body) there's an impression that half of the Russian Federation army posed with it:
And this is T-64BV "For Donbas," painted by one "artist." Initially, it was on a Russian military trawl, and then with the terrorists in the Donbas:
A very interesting question arises: where have all these T-64s come from, how were they delivered to Ukraine? I can immediately say - this is well known.
At the end of the world (Krasnoyarskiy Krai, Russian Federation), near the village with a funny name Kozulka, the 2544 Central base of tank reserve is situated (military unit 54630). They keep a huge variety of armored vehicles at this base. The scale can be estimated from a satellite photo:
Hundreds (if not thousands) of unused T-64s of various modifications and wear had been brought to this base.
It can be assumed that there were no serviceable T-64s in Russia closer than in Kozulka, Krasnoyarskiy Krai. Russian taxpayers would probably be interested to know how the old 40-ton T-64s covered the distance of 4,000 kilometers to be brought closer to Ukraine. Via the cheapest way - by rail? Certainly not.
There is Emelyanovo international airport in Krasnoyarsk, which is situated 80 kilometers from the tank base. The T-64s were transferred to this airport by military using trucks on trawls:
Next step was conducted by cargo planes - Ruslan AN-124 (it can carry three tanks at a time) or IL-76 (one tank).
In October, a unique video was posted on the Internet, which captured loading of a T-64BV tank on board of an aircraft AN-124 on May 31 this year at the airport of Emelyanovo:
It was really cold in Krasnoyarsk on May 31 (people in the video are dressed warm). And the airport on the video is really Krasnoyarsk Emelyanovo:
Shipping of tanks from Krasnoyarsk on May 31 was not the only one, as confirmed by the July photo taken by a user of social network VKontakte. On this photo, T-64BV is loaded into an IL-76:
The tanks were delivered from Krasnoyarsk to Taganrog (distance of 3,740 km).
This is stated in description to the video showing tank loading on May 31. The same is confirmed by photographs of Taganrog residents. In summer T-64s literally flooded the city streets.
Shooting location is indicated correctly:
The video of early June. Another old version of T-64 tank - a T-64A is transported along the streets of Taganrog. These ancient T-64As were probably also brought from the Krasnoyarsk Kray.
Shooting location - Syzranova street:
Again T-64A tanks in the video. This time they were taken together with airborne combat vehicles BMD-2, which have typically painted over numbers and tactical symbols. Shooting location - the intersection of Lomonosov and Bohdan Khmelnytsky streets:
Obviously, the domestic economic and operational situation affected Russia's wastefulness - in the fall, they started to carry the T-64s by rail:
There appeared T-64s with traces of railroad transportation (specified oversized index on board, marks from installation of special mounting spurs on the rolls), which were not observed in the summer:
Despite decent amount of T-64s imported by the separatists to the Donbas, their quantity was still not enough to confront the Ukrainian army. Since T-64s were not operated in the Russian army, but stored in warehouses, many combat vehicles required repair (with varying degrees of complexity).
In late summer, the intensity of combat activity increased dramatically. There was no time to comply with conspiracy, the tanks were needed immediately. Since mid-August there begins a massive flow of T-72 tanks (models released in the 80s) for arming pro-Russian separatists in Ukraine. More about that in the next part," the blogger wrote.