Russia-backed separatists carry out military exercises in eastern Ukraine

Author: Dmytro Snegiryov, Head of Prava Sprava public initiative.

In recent weeks active military exercises of the individual units of the so-called "people's militia of the LPR" were held in the separatist-held areas of the Luhansk region. In particular, the separatists conducted air defense exercises, held tank crew practice, and conducted tactical training for engineering units, as well as electronic warfare units.

At the Uspenskyi training ground, exercises with the engineering units of "the people's militia" of the self-proclaimed "republic" were conducted involving UR-77 mine clearing systems.

A similar system for remote mine clearing was first used by separatists in January 2015 during the attack on the Donetsk airport, as reported by the Prava Sprava public initiative. The separatists argue that the systems were seized over the winter from the Armed Forces of Ukraine during the battle of Debaltseve.

According to sources of the analytical department of Prava Sprava, during the tactical exercises conducted with the engineering units of the separatists, both UR-07 and UR-77 mine clearing systems were used. On May 28, 2015, the Prava Sprava public initiative published information indicating that the separatists of the self-proclaimed LPR possess two UR-07 remote mine clearing systems and stated that they were redeployed after tests on the Oleksandrovskyi training ground near Luhansk by Shchastya.

The UR-07 system was created based on a BMP-3 chassis. In addition, it's equipped with a launcher capable of extended mine clearing charges. This allows for the creation of a corridor in a minefield at a distance of up to 1 km with a width of up to several dozen meters. The armament of the Armed Forces of Ukraine does not include such systems.

The report of the OSCE mission states that on April 9, 2017, observers recorded seven tanks (T-72), five 152 mm 2A65 "Msta-B" howitzers, and five D-30, seven MLRS (BM-21), and seven self-propelled howitzers (122 mm 2S1 Gvozdika) on the southeastern outskirts of Luhansk.

Moreover, OSCE SMM once again visited the LPR’s permanent weapons storage site, the location of which corresponds to the line of withdrawal of troops and equipment, and noted the lack of 15 howitzers (six 2A65 and nine D-30), seven MLRS (BM-21), and three self-propelled howitzers (2S1).

On March 21, 2017, the analytical department of the Prava Sprava public initiative reported the redeployment of manpower and heavy armored vehicles from the rear areas of the separatist-held territories of the Luhansk region. In particular, the arrival of heavy equipment to Luhansk. They arrived at their place of deployment at the Transpele base of the Laa-Trans, LLC.

The views expressed in this article are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect those of UAWire. The article has been published with the permission of the author.

  Ukraine, Donbas, LPR, exercises