On December 31, 2014, we reported that the Russian-backed separatists in Ukraine appeared to have received a new supply of armor from Russia. This video revealed the presence of the BPM-97, which stands for Boyevaya Pogranichnaya Mashina (“Combat Border Vehicle”) used by the Russian border guards, which are part of the Federal Security Service or FSB. This vehicle is not known to be in service in Ukraine.
The terrain visible in the video appeared at first to be flat and nearly featureless and it seemed it would be difficult to locate this area. But by matching other clues on social media, we were able to geolocate the Russian armor inside Ukraine.
This video is labeled “LNR [‘Lugansk People’s Republic’] Began Large-Scale Exercises Not from from Front Line”.
The man in the cap with the red star speaking is Col. Kiselyev, deputy head of the LNR People’s Militia, or Russian-backed separatists. He speaks with the Russian-language accent native to the Donbass. The red star could indicate he is part of the LNR Communist faction or just admires the Soviet insignia. Thus, the video seems likely to be filmed in Lugansk, but this is not definitive.
Here’s a video of Kiselyev handing out awards to some fighters on December 13 in which he says, “We are local residents of Lugansk” at 0:33 in the accent typical to the region — by contrast with the volunteers from South Ossetia dressed in hats common to the North Caucasus, whom he is addressing.
Here’s a picture of him published earlier in December by the blogger Colonel Cassad from the press office of the Army of the South East which evidently was a screen grab from this video:
Then on January 2, 2015, Lugansk Today, a local new publication, published a photograph received from a reader of the BPM-97 going by a fragment of the building visible in the scene which was recognizable to locals as the Volodymyr Dal University