"One of our readers left an interesting comment to our previous article titled "How many tanks the August terrorists' battalion has got?" and attached a link to an interview with a survivor tanker-mechanic from the August armed terrorist group published on Dozhd TV channel:
"They had nine tanks in the beginning of the battalion creation. Then there were 27 units (according to the information from the private correspondence of battalion staff). The entire battalion was destroyed when entering the position on Jan, 25. All the crews died. One driver survived (according to the information from the terrorists' detachment militants who examined the site of the battalions' destruction). One tankman was captured by the SBU (I do not know whether it was one and the same man or different persons). The commander of the August was shot in the leg as punishment for the failure of the offensive and the loss of personnel and equipment ..."
We have chosen this comment because it will help to reveal yet another attempt to conceal the true extent of the Russian aggression against Ukraine as well as to comprehend how the withdrawal of heavy weapons by the "insurgents" and their sponsors, the Russian Federation actually works," the author explains.
Tthe first footage, titled "The convoy of tanks moves towards Debaltseve encirclement," was published Feb. 17
Picture 1: The first convoy.
We see an armored convoy of 10 T-72 tanks, including two T-72BM, seven Ural and KamAZ military trucks, four IFVs, one MT-LB multi-purpose light-armored towing vehicle, and four military tankers. All vehicles are featured by an outline of a white square, which is already familiar to us from the article on the August battalion. The presence of T-72BM tanks in the convoy clearly indicates the Russian trace in sponsoring the conflict in Ukraine.
The following footage is called "Debaltseve: captured on video by 'Prapor' and 'Khrustalik' 'militias'".
The date of the footage (02/14/2015) does not coincide with the previous one a little bit, but this is not crucial. The first footage could be captured just several days before it was uploaded on the Internet. The other fact is more important: the tanks with white squares, which we have already seen, are comfortably deployed on the streets of the Ukrainian village, and there are also two T-72 BM tanks among them. That is, there is a very good reason to assume that we are observing the same tank group. But in this case, T-64 tanks also appear on camera along with T-72 ones. These T-64 tanks are quite clearly separated from 72nds and do not have the August battalion identification marks.
Picture 2: T-72 and T-64
It is quite possible that these were the August tanks that have been destroyed later, which was mentioned by the captured Russian mechanic. A very significant event occurs at the 35th second of the footage: we can clearly hear saluting officer's voice-over and this man in a Marine beret appears on camera.
Picture 3: the Marine.
The footage stops right after that, hiding the very moment of the meeting from the spectators. It is obvious that the Russian and Ukrainian civilian specialists, who the "militia" consists of, according to Moscow's statements, do not salute each other this way as well as they would not hide a filming camera.
The following footage is about the trip of the August tank group with the title of: "Horlivka, The DPR. The withdrawal of heavy equipment 02/21/2015".
We can see 14 tanks (including two T-72 BMs), seven IFVs, two MT-LB multi-purpose light-armored towing vehicles, and three trucks there. The size of the convoy has obviously changed since the previous filming, which may evidence that the equipment was introduced to the hostilities area in several convoys and only a part of these forces was captured on video. Therefore, the real number of the Russian troops, which took part in the battles for Debaltseve, may significantly exceed the size of this convoy.
Picture 4: The convoy No. 2
By the way, the Russian propaganda made another attempt to hide the fact of the Russian troops' presence in the Donbas: the same video but with the title of "Large convoy of the militia tanks moves to the Yenakiieve front. Feb 22. War in Ukraine" was uploaded Feb 22.
The attempt was unsuccessful, to say the least, because the person who shot the video quite clearly announces the withdrawal of equipment from the combat area, saying nothing about one more convoy rushing to the hostilities area. In addition, the active phase of the engagements has been completed at the time of filming. Therefore, the equipment withdrawal scenario was the only one possible in this case. But there is one oddity in this event. The official video of the withdrawal of "militia's" heavy equipment appeared only on Feb. 24. And certainly, there were no tanks with square marks on the official video! So, whose equipment was used by the 'August'?
The additional tips can be found in the video titled "Debaltseve has slipped into DPR's control"
Picture 6: The "militia's" armor-crewman
A new detail appeared on camera in addition to the well-known features of the Russian equipment. The uniforms of the tank-crewmen from the tanks marked with squares differ sharply from the traditional ones the "militia's" armor-crewmen are dressed in. And if the "separatists", dressed in the field uniforms of the Russian army were explained by its availability on the open market, this explanation is not suitable for the "Cowboy-type" uniforms and the like, because neither new headsets nor armor-crewmen smocks are available on the open market. In addition, the tank has the side number of '558' and the inscription of '6 TR' that can be deciphered as 'the sixth tank company'. There were six tank companies in the Soviet tank regiments. It is possible that this structure also remained in the Russian army tank regiments. That means that the scale of the invasion have exceeded from the level of the company and battalion task force to a full-fledged regimental one.
Thus, it became possible to establish new proofs based on video from public sources that the Russian troops, which participated in the battles for Debaltseve, had the entire tank company (at least) in their contingent. This Russian armor group was featured by the tactical sign of a white outline of a square, which should indicate this group's membership in the August militants' battalion in order to disguise its real origin. And no one has destroyed this group, as you could see. It was just pulled back from Debaltseve three days before the "official" process of withdrawal. It was done in order to exclude the presence of the Russian troops in the propaganda footage dedicated to the heavy equipment withdrawal, the author of the article concludes.