"Ruslan Khafizov (born on June 10, 1984) is a figurant of our investigation. He graduated from the Kazan Higher Artillery Command School ( page in 'VK', 'My World' page, photo album ). Based on information posted by him in social network, Khafizov is an officer of the Russian Armed Forces and has a captain rank. He serves in the missile artillery battalion of the 18th separate motorized rifle brigade (military unit No. 27777, deployed in Khankala and Kalinovskaya, Republic of Chechnya). These conclusions were made based on information of his military education and analysis of the photos where Ruslan is in the uniform in front of military equipment. We draw your attention to the collar insignia on the field and parade uniform, the badge 'For Service in the Caucasus,' and chevron of the 18th separate motorized rifle brigade," the authors of the material note.
"In summer of 2014, Ruslan Khafizov's unit got an assignment to move to Rostov Oblast in order to conduct 'drills'. We were able to establish the dispositions of his unit using geotags of the photos. Note that they are located between Kuybyshevo and Novoshakhtinsk settlements at a distance of about 10 km from the border of Ukraine. The photos below were uploaded to the photo album in October of 2014. However, judging by the color of vegetation and brown skin of the war criminals, it seems that these photos were made in summer. It just proves that the 'assignment' ended in October of 2014," the article reads.
At one of the photos Khafizov 'exposed' equipment (2B26, 'Grad' MLRS mounted on KAMAZ-5350 and CSV) on a route march near Kryukovo village. It is noteworthy there are no registration numbers on the vehicles.
The photo below is the most interesting from our point of view. It shows three 2B26 vehicles in the firing position and fully charged with ammunition (in early February 2016, volunteers of InformNapalm recorded these vehicles on Ukrainian territory; you can find more details here ). We were able to determine the exact location (northeast of Novaya Nadezhda settlement) and the direction of fire pointing due to the presence of geotag and reference points on the photo.
For reference: MLRS 'Grad,' depending on the type of missiles, can hit targets at distances up to 20 km, and up to 40 km with new ammunition (like 9M521). The screenshots below show the direction of pointing, the presumable impact point when shooting at maximum range, as well as the impact zone in case of change the fire direction.
"Let us remind you that in summer 2014 the Russian Armed Forces were actively using cannon and missile artillery for striking Ukraine from Rostov Oblast. One of the most famous cases was shelling from the town of Gukovo. You can find more details in the article " Positions of Grad MLRS that Fired upon Ukrainian Territory from the Russian Federation Have Been Determined " (in Russian). Also, having analyzed the report of the events in July-August 2014, we found evidence of MLRS attacks upon the positions of the 79th airmobile brigade near Diakove and Bobrykove villages (more details are available here (RU) and here (UK)). It is clear from the screenshot above that all these settlements also were in the impact zone of Khafizov's unit. In addition, on July 19, 2014, the positions of ATO forces near the state border between Ukraine and Russia were shelled three times during the day. This was announced by Dmytro Tymchuk, the head of the 'Information resistance' group. The shelling was carried out from the Russian territory using Grad MLRSes and mortars. Firing positions of Russian combat crews that were attacking Ukrainian forces were located near the Novaya Nadezhda settlement (Rostov Oblast, Russia). Later Pavlo Klimkin, Foreign Minister of Ukraine, called the shelling of the Ukrainian territory an act of the Russian aggression," the article reads.
One of the interesting moments in our investigation is the fact of awarding Captain Khafizov with the state military awards in peacetime:
- Medal of Suvorov
- St. George's Cross of 4th degree
Based on Khafizov's contact list and group photo from the Rostov assignment, three more artillery officers have been identified. Ruslan Satdinov (born on Jan. 22, 1985) graduated from the Kazan Higher Artillery Command School (his page in VK and photo album ).
Maxim Dubinin (born on Feb. 9, 1986) graduated from the Yekaterinburg Higher Artillery Command School (his page in VK and photo album ).
Anton Gareev (born on Feb. 14, 1986) graduated from the Yekaterinburg Higher Artillery Command School (his page in VK and photo album ).
Archives of photos used in the article: