"As reported earlier, Russian 'Novaya Gazeta' published an interview on March 2, 2015 with a Russian tank crewman Dorzhy Batomunkuev, who had been assigned to the Donbas together with his battalion," the article reads.
"Information that the 5th tank brigade (military unit No. 46108, Central Military District, Ulan-Ude, Republic of Buryatia, Russia) had been redeployed to the Rostov region and subsequently took part in combat activities in the Donbas was published by InformNapalm for the first time in November 2014, far before the interview with the Russian tank crewman.
"The reason for bringing up the subject was a picture from the lostarmor website, which allowed us connecting the dots and proving that the tanks destroyed in Ukraine belonged to the 5th brigade," the authors of the investigation wrote.
"In particular, the following is mentioned in Dorzhi's interview:
"- I had a very nice tank. Not just '72', but '72B'. And 'B' means the tank has 1K13 optical scope.
"- But the battalion commander had bad luck. During the carousel, when you shoot…
"- A tank is a very capricious equipment, sometimes it gets a hangfire. You shoot, but it doesn't shoot. It just does not fire."- The first tank fires - kaboom… the second one… the third one - hangfire. And they are being shelled by Ukrainians at that moment. And that's it. The commander jumped into his tank and moved - he destroyed one tank, but the second one destroyed him."
"Based on Dorzhi's story, we conducted a search for the two destroyed T-72B tanks with 1K13 scopes near Debaltseve salient. Pictures of these units of equipment have been found on the 'lostarmor' website (photo 1 and photo 2).
"Judging by one of the photos, this is a T-72BM tank (T-72B model dated 1989) with several specific distinctive features - 1K13 night vision scope; Kontakt-V active armor; lack of DVE-BS wind sensor.
"Several factors prove that the destroyed vehicles can be identified as the 5th brigade's tanks, mentioned by Batomunkuyev:
"- both the pictures and the interview feature the T-72B tanks, models of 1989, with 1K13 night vision scope (usually mentioned as T-72BM);
"- the tanks were destroyed near the village of Lohvynove (the key point in the combats for Debaltseve), the time of destruction matches as well;
"- two tanks appeared on the pictures, as mentioned in the interview; the second vehicle belonged to the battalion commander (the tanks were burnt, manholes were open, turrets were on their places).
"According to the information we have, the T-72B tanks (models of 1989) are in service of the 5th separate armored brigade. To confirm this we provide with several pictures from photo albums of the 5th brigade's group in the VK social network (the group and an archive, the album and and archive)," the investigation concludes.