In March 2014, then-Minister of Energy and Coal Industry of Ukraine Yurii Prodan stated in the exclusive interview for UNIAN in Brussels that Ukraine's drilling rigs were taken under the control of 'men in green' armed with AKs. Ukrainian information agencies used to call them 'separatists.'
Although the fact that the 'separatists' belonged to the regular forces of the neighboring aggressor state had been realized pretty fast, the information about the exact military units' involvement in forcible takeovers around the country has not been made public until today.
Recalling the 18-months-old event is caused by finding of relevant photo proofs and information during a new OSINT investigation. A profile of Ivan Kozlov, soldier from the 104th air assault regiment, 'veteran of the Crimea annexation' was found in the VK social network (photo album archive, contact list archive). As for 2014, he was a serviceman of the 104th air assault regiment of the 76th paratrooper division of Russia's airborne forces. Kozlov's album contains a set of pictures uploaded in December 2014, depicting the operation of Crimea seizure (including the Chornomornaftohaz infrastructure forcible takeover).
Below are the screenshots (in Russian) with the facts which led the authors to their conclusions.
Kozlov's album also includes a photo where he poses with Aleksandr Osipov, his brother-in-arms from the 104th regiment, who died in Donbas in August 2014 while fulfilling criminal orders by his Russian military command. Osipov's recon unit got under a Ukrainian artillery shelling. He was buried without pathos and honors near Pskov, in Vybuty village cemetery on Aug. 24, 2014 (reported by LJ user 'Potsreotizm' on Sept. 11, 2014).
- the 104th guards paratrooper regiment (military unit No. 32515) is a part of the 76th guards paratrooper division, the unit whose 'Ukrainian assignments' have been disclosed by InformNapalm informational scouts for several times. The home base of the unit is the village of Cherekha, Pskov Oblast, Russia. As reported, two servicemen from this unit were captured by the Ukrainian forces in the end of August 2014.
- Chornomornaftohaz' is a part of the National Joint Stock Company 'Naftohaz Ukrainy' and specializes in petroleum and natural gas exploration in the areas of the Black and Azov seas. As of Crimea annexation in March 2014, Chornomornaftohaz owned 17 production fields (11 gas fields, four gas condensate fields and two oil fields). The total ultimate reserves of all the fields were estimated as: gas - 58.56 billion cub. m, gas condensate - 1.231 million tonnes, oil - 2.53 million tonnes.
The international volunteer team of InformNapalm continues gathering evidence of the Russian aggression against Ukraine in both Donbas and Crimea. More on this topic can be found in article 'Professional Russian Army in Ukraine. Database and Visualization'. The database is constantly updated and translated into dozens of foreign languages. On Censor.NET, the similar database of reports by Ukrainian and Russian media proving presence of Russian army in Ukraine can be found in the section Evidence of Russian aggression in Ukraine.