Bellingcat has averaged nearly 150 of the shelling of Ukraine from Russian territory

Analysis via satellite

In the summer of 2014 Russia at least 149 times fired from artillery shells Ukrainian territory in Donetsk and Lugansk regions, stated in the Bellingcat report, which was published on Wednesday, December 21. Analysts the group has 130 locations in Russia, which, in their opinion, were used as artillery positions.

According to Bellingcat, within range of Russian artillery systems were 408 targets on the territory of Ukraine, with 127 of them — are no more than 3 km from the Russian-Ukrainian border, and the trajectory of fire of those goals crossed the border of the two States.

The report’s authors admit that “these numbers represent lower limit estimates of the true number of attacks.” But based on their scale, frequency, and prevalence of artillery strikes, analysts Bellingcat regard them as “the act of military actions of the Russian Federation against Ukraine”.

In 2015, Bellingcat published a study about the shelling of the Ukrainian territory, but then managed to install only some cases of shelling.

To determine the areas of the attacks on Bellingcat used satellite images available in the public domain on the Internet. In particular, the authors use the images from Digital Globe and Google Earth, which is dated July—August 2014. They captured an artillery battery of towed guns, as well as traces of volleys of rocket systems of volley fire.

As the authors of the report, to establish the fact of the attacks they studied the border zone on the territory of Ukraine with a width of 22 km in the Donetsk and Lugansk regions. They also explored the territory of the Rostov region, bordering Ukraine.

asked for comment, the press service of the defense Ministry.

In a funnel

Experts have found 2254 of possible object on the territory of Russia and Ukraine, with 1344 they considered unrelated to the investigation. Among the remaining objects, they have identified 518 craters from artillery shells on Ukrainian territory, and 305 considered potential firing positions on the Russian or Ukrainian territories. From the number of potential positions they identified 279 likely.

The trajectory of the shells the authors of the report were determined by General azimuth on the basis of a sample of five craters at each place of fire. Based on these calculations, analysts argue that the trajectory of the shells crossed the Russian-Ukrainian border.

Images to determine the direction of firing is impossible, says chief editor of the magazine “Arsenal Fatherland” Victor murakhovski. To find out which side it was fired, the satellite photo is not enough, it can be determined only from the ground, said the expert.

Bellingcat also cites satellite photos of craters from artillery fire and their configuration makes conclusions about the direction of fire. The photographs depicted three to ten funnels. In particular allegedly provided images of the area in Donetsk region — North-East from Dibrovka and West of Marinovka. The configuration of the craters, according to analysts, indicates that the artillery shelling of these areas was carried out from the territory of the Rostov region.

Bellingcat — international expert and journalist group founded on 15 July 2014, the British journalist Eliot Higgins. In their reports, the Bellingcat based on open sources: videos and photos posted in social networks, satellite imagery. Now the main project of the group is the investigation into the crash of the Boeing MH17 in South-Eastern Ukraine. The command also oversees a military campaign in Syria, including the actions of Russian soldiers.

In may 2016 Bellingcat submitted its report, according to which Malaysian Boeing could be shot down, “Beech”, belonging to the 53rd anti-aircraft missile brigade from Kursk. The defense Ministry of Russia accused Bellingcat of falsification of data about the crash.