"One of the main reasons of Russia's capture of Crimea was practical implementation of the so-called 'advanced military presence' doctrine. After the annexation, once flourishing Crimea is now becoming a military base, a kind of 'natural aircraft carrier'. This trend continues to persist at the expense of social and economic development of the region.
"Besides that, starting from March 2015, the Russian occupational forces have built up the air defense forces by moving several anti-aircraft missile systems to the peninsula. In particular, the 46th separate coastal defense missile Marines division (military unit No. 85103, Caspian Flotilla, Kaspiysk, Republic of Dagestan, Russia) was relocated to Crimea in 2014. It has the latest BAL mobile coastal defensive missile systems ( NATO reporting name: SSC-6 'Sennight')," the article reads.
Information about BAL coastal defensive missile system
The complex was designed to control territorial waters and breakdown zones, protection of naval bases and other coastal facilities and infrastructure. The BAL' system includes:
- · up to two self-propelled command and communication control centers;
- · up to four self-propelled launchers;
- · Kh-35/Kh-35E and Kh-35U/Kh-35UE missiles in transporter-launcher containers. A typical launcher has eight containers;
- · up to four transporter-erector units designed to prepare a secondary volley.
- · Effective distance: 120 km for Kh-35 missile (260 km for Kh-35U);
- · Distance from the launching position to the coastline: up to 10 km;
- · Quantity of the missiles in each launcher and loading unit: up to eight;
- · Rocket launching interval: not more than 3 seconds;
- · Maximum movement rate: 60 km/h (off road - 20 km/h);
- · Missile launching mass: 620 kg;
- · Total missile establishment: up to 64;
- · Endurance distance: at least 850 km.
The division mentioned above has four launchers, control center, and transporter and is included into the 15th brigade (military unit No. 80365, Sevastopol, occupied Crimea).
"It is noteworthy that there are almost no materials about the unit's 'private life' in open access. Photos of BAL systems on a parade or training were rare exceptions. InformNapalm's volunteers were able to unveil new details about military equipment and personnel of the brigade thanks to a Russian officer who uploaded all the needed information to his social profile," the authors of the material note.
Melnikov Nikolay Petrovich, senior lieutenant, born in Kansk, Russia on Nov. 3, 1990. Graduated from Kansk Naval Sea Cadet Corps (Kansk, Russia), Tikhookeansky Makarov Higher Naval School. Owns a car with license plate No. м 863OE (123). Skype: nikolay23544. VKontakte: profile (archive of profile, album)
In 2012-2013 Melnikov posted a lot of photos from his service in Caspian Flotilla in the 46th separate coastal defense missile Marines division. This is confirmed by geotags (Karabudakhkentsky district of Dagestan, Kaspiysk) and other characteristics (specific military equipment, landscape, etc.). The officer has a lot of pictures in his profile - many of them disclose the routine of the 46th brigade and names of brothers-in-arms during those times. But we will use only several photos from that period - the ones that show the BAL complex elements.
A picture made by Melnikov on Oct. 22, 2012, draws our attention. The comment below it reads: " Helicopter pad. It arrived from Mozdok, we were fueling it. Then it flew away to bomb the bearded".
"The 'Crimean period' of this 'talented' Russian officer's service is the most interesting for us," the authors of the investigation note.
First pictures were uploaded in September 2014. A picture showing his new shoulder straps of the senior lieutenant has the 'Sevastopol' geotag. The inscription on the straps reads: "Senior Lieutenant Melnikov Nikolay Petrovich. KUVO's [abbreviation of the Command of the Southern Military District] order No. 117 dated June 23, 2014".
The next photo registered the movement of the division's equipment convoy (Mykhailivka village near Saky town, to the northwest of Simferopol). The coordinates are 45°06'44.1″N 33°38'49.6″E
Of course, this officer could not be left without 'For the Return of Crimea' medal. Here it is (order by the Russian Ministry of Defense No. 411 dated July 1, 2014, signed by colonel Oleg Budanov, the commander of the military unit No. 80365).
As previously mentioned, this military unit No. 80365 is the new 15th coastal defense brigade. This means that it is proven with documents that the Dagestanian BAL complexes became Crimean.
See more: Russian war criminal Yevgeny Starkov fights in Donbas for contract with Russian MoD, - InformNapalm. PHOTOS
Georeferencing of the BAL complexes in Crimea
During the investigation of Melnikov's social profile, we found several locations where the BAL systems were noticed.
Date: April 2015
Landmark: 44°29'52.7″N 33°32'50.1″E, to the east of Cape Fiolent near Sevastopol
Date: November 2015
Landmark: 45°23'26.7″N 32°29'47.1″E, Olenivka village in Chornomorsk disrtict, near Cape Tarkhankut
One of the five vehicles had a military license plate No. [0680 АО (21) ]
A field camp at the same location was registered in November of 2015. The photo shows Melnikov with his subordinates.
It should be noted that locations of the BAL systems are pretty vulnerable to guerrilla raids and are the primary targets in case of military conflict buildup on the peninsula. The locations where the BAL systems of the 15th brigade have been revealed by this OSINT invesitgation are shown on the map.
"To sum up with, the InformNapalm international community's volunteers wish the officer of the Russian occupation forces 'success' in his future service in sunny Crimea. We are grateful for his assistance in the disclosing of restricted information. Probably, his subsequent 'career promotion' after this publication will be characterized by a photo from the period of his service in Dagestan [inscription on the watermelon - 'ass']," the authors of the investigation note.