"I follow a blog on armored vehicles http://andrei-bt.livejournal.com/ and have noticed the rage with which Russian trolls foam about my article on Colonel Sydorenko. They argue that there was no T-72B-3 seizure, that the whole story is fake; that it is impossible to identify a camouflaged T-72 tank, that "Novorossia" is defended by miners and tractor drivers; that the Russians do not give up and would not have ceded their newest tank to stupid "ukrops" (Russian derogative nickname for Ukrainians - ed.), that "ukrops" are no good, etc. Suchlike agents of the Russian propaganda repeat exactly the same mantra in their comments on Censor.NET.
"I understand this rage of Russian trolls. The T-72B-3 is the latest Russian upgrade and another strong evidence of the large-scale Russian invasion. It is obvious that a modern fire control system and thermal temperature sights cannot be operated by local Ukrainian drunkards. Besides, there is no such equipment as T-72B-3 in Ukraine, it has never been exported from Russia. So I have decided to dispel all doubts and gathered all evidence of the Russian tank seizure. Fortunately, there are lots of details and witnesses. And I will try to find more.
"Photo 1 - Max Levin, Levyi Bereh (Left Bank medium) photographer, took images of the T-72B-3 in the morning of Aug. 28, when our troops broke out of Ilovaisk.
"It is easy to determine the type of the machine. The image shows two heroic men, tankers of the 17th Tank Brigade. Yevhen Martyniuk, a mechanic driver, is sitting on the turret on the right. Tank commander Serhii Isaiev is standing in the turret on the left. The soldiers survived, I will soon contact and interview them for more evidence. A few minutes after the photo was taken, Colonel Sydorenko would mount the tank after having consulted Colonel Olexii Hrachov, the commander of the convoy, and the convoy would attempt a break out.
"Photo 2. A picture of the same tank was taken by a Ukrainian soldier who I met at Ilovaisk. His name is Pavlo Taniuk and he is a soldier of the Dnipro-2 39th Battalion of the Territorial Defense of the Dnipropetrovsk region.
"He shared the photo on the web after the battle on August, 24. The photo was taken immediately after Ukrainian identification markings, the white stripes, had been applied to the tank.
"Photo 3. Taken by Colonel Sydorenko after masking the tank on the terrain.
"In photos 2 and 3 you can clearly see the broken thermal sight "Sosna-U" which is a characteristic and easily identifiable part of the T-72 B-3.
"If you pay attention to photos 1 and 2, you may notice exactly the same damage to the slats over the tracks on the left tank side.
"The tank was seized through gunfire from a Ukrainian IFV, grenade launchers and small arms near Ilovaisk by a group of military engineers from Pivden OC and soldiers of the 17th Armored Brigade under the command of Colonel Kovalskyi, the Pivden OC engineer commander. I will write down his contact details to talk to him.
"Kovalskyi was the first to provide the data on the tank crew as well as discovered documents of a tankman Desiatov Alexander Mikhailovich, born 11/25/86, driver, military unit 16544, 8th Separate Motorized Rifle Brigade, city of Borzoi, Shatoyskiy district of Chechnya. The tank is T-72B3, number 632, military unit 54096, the 3rd Tank Company. According to Sydorenko, documents of other crewmen were also found. There is one interesting thing. The tank belonged to the 6th Separate Tank Brigade of the Russian Federation, i.e. military unit 54096, whereas the crew came from the 8th Motorized Rifle Brigade. Obviously, the Russian invasion forces replenish their losses in Ukraine by transferring machinery from other combat units. Thus, divisions of the 6th Tank Brigade of the Russian Federation have not been spotted on the territory of Ukraine while the 8th Motorized Infantry Unit from Chechnya has actively been participating in the war in Ukraine for a long time. Judging by the photos of dead soldiers of the said brigade, it has been the second month of their stay on our land.
"A clearly visible label 2200 on the machine is some additional Russian tactical sign identifying the tank.
"So there are plenty of facts testifying to the invasion of Ukraine's territory by Russian regular troops, and the number of such facts will only increase.
"P.S. I'd like to recommend another professional and patriotic Ukrainian blog on armored vehicles (I try to keep an eye on everything, but I follow this regularly): http://tanki-v-boju.ru/
"Update from Sergey Dubenko:
"2200 is a Russian code for transportation of heavy equipment by rail," Butusov wrote.