Ask Kyiv where the 700 tanks came from, Russia does not send tanks to the Donbas, declared Russian Presidential spokesman Dimitry Peskov, responding to reports that some 700 tanks are currently on the territory of the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics.
The editor in chief of Russia’s eminent military newspaper Natsionalnaya Oborona Igor Korotchenko told the Russian newspaper Komsomolskaya Pravda that military hardware in the occupied territories could come from three sources: spoils of war captured from the Ukrainian military, the tanks could have been sold illegally by Ukrainian commanders or they could have simply been present on the seized territory.
Information that the occupied territories had more tanks than the Ukrainian armed forces, some 700 units, was disclosed in the February 9 edition of Russia’s official television channel Rossiya 1’s weekly 60 minutes program.
Despite countless reports by international organizations, investigative groups and satellite imagery showing Russia moving hardware into Ukraine, Moscow continues to make up new stories about how all this equipment managed to find its way to the Donbas.
The site Lost Armour has been tracking equipment captured by the separatist groups. Since the outbreak of the separatist war, Lost Armour has counted 424 pieces of equipment taken by the separatists as spoils of war. The Russian internet newspaper Ukraina.ru published documents showing that when separatists seized eastern Ukraine, only 25 T-64 tanks remained in the region.
There is much evidence that Russia supplied and continues to supply the self-proclaimed separatist republics with military equipment. NATO published satellite photos showing Russian combat troops with sophisticated heavy weaponry inside Ukraine.
The investigative group InformNapalm has published countless photographs and video showing Russian equipment being supplied to the occupied territories. Separatist militants have used T-72B and T-90A tanks, models which have never been used by the Ukrainian armed forces.
Independent journalistic investigations have also published reports proving the presence of both Russian military equipment and Russian military in Donbas.