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“STOPTERROR” RESEARCH DATA: “ARMY CORPS” OF ILLEGAL ARMED GROUP WAS REORGANISED INTO AN “OPERATIONAL AND TACTICAL FORCE”, AND UPDATES WERE MADE TO COMMAND PERSONNEL

Kyiv, 11 August 2016 - Since 2015, the structure of illegal armed groups of the so-called “LPR” and “DPR” have been reorganised significantly and updates have been made to their command personnel. Their activities however are managed directly through the General Staff of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation (the RF Armed Forces). This is based on the database compiled by the “StopTerror” project which monitors all available sources. “We used open sources only – where both the RF and directly commanders of illegal armed groups publish information not hiding in any way. Looking into it, it is quite easy to collect data on and show locations of deployment, command personnel, tactical symbols, arms, number and an overall picture of forces located in the occupied territory of the Luhansk and Donetsk regions,” said Semen Kabakaev, the “StopTerror” project Coordinator, while presenting the project’s findings in a press briefing at the Ukraine Crisis Media Center.

The so-called “army corps” of illegal armed groups was renamed as “operational and tactical HQs”; “the 1st Army Corps of the DPR People's Police” became “the “Donetsk” Operational and Tactical HQ of the DPR Ministry of Defence”, while “the 2nd Army Corps of the LPR People's Police” became the “Operational and Tactical Force of the LPR People's Police”. “Transition from an army corps to operational and tactical forces is a more recent, non-Soviet approach. It effects fieldwork and on-site tactics directly,” the “StopTerror” project Coordinator explained.

According to the research information, activities of the “operational and tactical forces” are coordinated directly by the General Staff of the RF Armed Forces. The senior command personnel includes Col Gen Sergey Istrakov, Deputy Chief of the General Staff of the RF Armed Forces, Commander of the Southern Military District (SMD) of the RF Armed Forces Aleksandr Galkin, and Commander of the Center for Territorial Troops of the SMD of the RF Armed Forces Andrey Serdyukov. 

To conceal the direct management by Russia, there is a practice of using a double command system in the so-called “republics”. “It has transpired that, on a pro forma basis, certain persons are listed as commanders of “brigades” and “regiments”, however, management is carried out by commissioned officers of the RF Army. Major General of the RF Armed Forces Valery Grigorievich Asapov, Commander of the 68th Army Corps of the Eastern Military District, is in command of the “Operational and Tactical HQ of the DPR”. According to documents used as a cover, that would be Primakov, noted Semen Kabakaev. Yevgeny Valerievich Morgun is in command of the “Operational and Tactical Force of the LPR”, according to documents used as a cover, while it actually would be Maj Gen of the RF Armed Forces Yevgeny Valerievich Nikiforov, Deputy Commander of the 58th Army of the RF Armed Forces, with the callsign “Tambov”.

All units that are part of the “Operational and Tactical Force of the DPR Ministry of Defence” were assigned numbers of military bases of the so-called “DPR”. Most units were renamed (mainly “operational and tactical groups”) and new tactical symbols – squares or triangles with relevant numbers.
“Proceeding on the basis that the “9th Motor Rifle Regiment” also has a tactical symbol in a square, one can assume that regiments of the “DPR Ministry of Defence” were assigned a tactical symbol “square” and brigades of the “DPR Ministry of Defence” were assigned a tactical symbol “triangle”,” said Semen Kabakaev. The “1st Separate Battalion Task Group (SBTG) “Somali” was renamed “Separate Mechanised Guards (Assault) Battalion “Ilovaiskyi””. 

Special Purpose Battalion “Mykolaivshoho” (“Vympel”) was disbanded and its members were transferred to other units. The “7th Chystiakivska Brigade” was subordinated to the “LPR”, it was also augmented by the “15th Separate Special Battalion “SSSR Brianka”. The “Detachment named after Yermak”, which was previously subordinated to “Prizrak”, was also included in the battalion.

Similar transformations occurred in the so-called “LPR”. The units that are part of the “Operational and Tactical Force of the LPR People's Police” were assigned numbers of the “LPR” military bases; in some, the structure and command also changed. 

The “2nd Separate Motor Rifle Brigade” became the “2nd Separate Motor Rifle Guards Brigade”. Its Commander was also replaced; the Brigade is now led by Yan Vitalyevich Leshchenko. The “12th Separate Special Battalion “Rym”” was added to the Brigade,” the “StopTerror” project Coordinator said. 

The “4th Separate Motor Rifle Brigade” was supplemented the “13th Separate Special Battalion “Yegor””, the “16th Separate Special Battalion “Yarga””, and the “14th Separate Special Battalion “Prizrak”. At the same time, “Subversive and Assault Reconnaissance Group” –  “Rusych” – was removed from the Brigade and sent to the RF’s territory. 

Yuriy Shevchenko became Commander of the “4th Brigade”. 

The “6th Separate Cossack Regiment Named After Ataman Matvei Platov” became the “6th Separate Guards Cossack Motor Rifle Regiment”.

“After the death of Pavel Dremov, Vladimir Sergeyevich Polupoltinnikh, with a callsign “Poltinnik” took command of the Regiment,” Semen Kabakaev added. Kozitsyn’s “Cossack Guards” was disbanded. In addition, all territorial defence battalions of the “LPR People's Police” were renamed into “separate special battalions of the Operational and Tactical Force of the LPR People's Police”. 

Part of the “special battalions” were subordinated to the “brigades” of the “LPR” Force; it remains partly as separate units.

In a number of units – both those of the “LPR” and “DPR” - updates were made to command personnel and a double command system was introduced.

In the “Operational and Tactical HQ of the DPR Ministry of Defence” and the “Operational and Tactical Force of the LPR People's Police”, new units also emerged. In the “DPR”, these are Separate Tank Battalion “Umansky” (aka “Dizel”), the “3rd Separate Special Purpose Battalion” and the “Separate Security and Control Battalion”. 

“Special Risk Rescue Detachment “Legion”” also emerged. In the updated personnel composition – of both the “Operational and Tactical HQ of the DPR Ministry of Defence” and the “Operational and Tactical Force of the LPR People's Police”, the following units emerged: “Separate Combat Engineering Company (OSIR)”; “Separate Radio and Electronic Warfare Company (REB)”; and “Separate BPLA [Unmanned Aerial Vehicle] Company”. “Also, in the “DPR Ministry of Defence”, a new body called the “Republican State Security Service” emerged, functions of which include ensuring security of senior officials of the so-called “DPR” - which is intended to mean only Zakharchenko - and protection of important state facilities,” Semen Kabakaev added.

The “StopTerror” project Coordinator also noted that, in the temporarily occupied territories, Russia is actively using new systems, career military personnel are rotated every 3-4 moths. “I can safely say that they use the Donbas not only as a tool in the geopolitical arena, but they are also polishing their tactical missions here and are enhancing the level [of combat training] of the Armed Forces,” he said. Semen Kabakaev added that all reported information has been forwarded to the Ministry of Justice as a material for potential lawsuits against the RF - from which it also comes to the Ministry of Internal Affairs or the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU).