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AK-74M and GP-25 - Imgur

The situation in Ukraine continues to deteriorate, and the only good thing coming out of that whole situation is that we get to gawk at the Russian hardware on display. There are a large number of soldiers currently around Russia’s Black Sea base in Crimea, strangely wearing no identifying patches. But one person on Reddit (/u/NihilNovae_Su) has sifted through the images from various news sites and identified the top-of-the-line brand new Russian-built firearms they’re toting. Make the jump for some more pictures (re-printed with permission) . . .

GM-94 Grenade Launchers - Imgur

PKM and AK-74M accessories - Imgur

PKM Machine Gun accessories - Imgur

PKP Machine Gun - Imgur

SVD-S Sniper Rifle - Imgur

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  1. I recall earlier some of the Kiev protesters were using various firearms as well. Is there a piece up anywhere on what guns they were using?

    • I’ve seen pump shotguns, pellet guns and a hunting rifle or two. They were poorly armed at best.

      • I think I may have seen some .22lr target rifles as well. But yes, poorly armed. This is what happens when a disarmed populace has to rely on the few arms that have been hidden away for years to fight a tyrannical government.

        • The selection of guns on Maidan had nothing to do with “disarmed populace”, it’s just what people had at hand when the bullets started flying from the other side. Remember, until then, it was meant to be a peaceful protest, and even once rocks and molotovs started flying around both sides shied away from shooting.

          In practice, Ukraine gun laws are not so bad. You can own a semi-auto AR or an AK, for example. Some AKs were actually caught on video on Maidan.

        • So a better armed and confident population would help things over there?
          That’s just what Putin wants – a reason to respond with force to extreme civil unrest with armed civilian combatants.

        • Having more than basic knowledge of Russians (married to one for 8 years) I think a knee-jerk response that “Ukraine good, Russia bad” in this instance is just being sucked in by MSM propaganda.

          It is foolish to think that any people who have lived under conquerors and Tsars and oppressive communist regimes for thousands of years can be expected to think and act in any situation the way Americans would, or that they would be able to operate under our exact political and constitutional system. In many cases it is totally outside their experience or even their concept of reality. Evaluating what is happening over their based solely on our political perspective and what you can glean from MSM reporting, which is bound to be pro-Ukraine, will lead to false conclusions in almost every instance.

          The Crimean peninsula has been fought over by Russian armies since Katherine the Great. It was given as a political expediency to the Ukraine in 1954 by the Soviet Union and even so has had a majority Russian population ever since, somewhere between 60 and 70% at this time. The Russian Black Sea fleet is based in Sevastapol. I have friends in Simferopol, Russians, and strongly pro-Putin.

          While there have been strong animosities and resentments between Ukraine and Russia since Stalin starved millions there to support his factories and then tens of thousands of Ukrainians joined the Nazis during the Great Patriotic War, aside from reclaiming or promoting the independence of Crimea and possibly Odessa, the Russians do not have any territorial ambitions on Ukraine. Does anyone, even the new pro-European new Ukraine government, really believe they would last more than weeks or that Europe or the U.S. would declare war if Russia really wanted to take them by force?

          Despite all the media hype this is more like if San Diego county decided to break away from California and U.S. troops were sent there to prevent Sacramento from taking them back by force.

          I believe we should consider our own situation here, historically:

          “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. That whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness…” This is as true for the majority in Crimea as it was for the American colonies.

        • Putin is rebuilding the evil empire. The would be the KGB head thug, now in suit vs a uniform. So YES Russia bad, As the bumbling fools in the Whitehouse have no clue what is going on or what to do. See also 1938 Chamberlain.

          Ask your wife why there are so many “Russians” in Ukrania. Get the book “Bloodlands” for some help. Key was the mass genocidal mass starvation of the countryside by……. RUSSIA/Stalin before WWII and then mass deportations to Siberia during and after WWII. Then “resettlement” by ……… RUSSIANS. See also the Baltic states.

          Russia – commie thugs, nothing except the clothing (and petro$) has changed since 1980. Obuma is living in the Clinton fantasy world of the 90s mythical “peace dividend”. Makes even Jimmy Carter look good..

        • Thanks Cliff H for the insight. There is definitely more going on in Ukraine and the Crimea than what the Fox Neocons and ObamaHawks would like us to know or believe.

        • >> aside from reclaiming or promoting the independence of Crimea and possibly Odessa

          And Donetsk. And Lugansk. And Kharkov. And Dnepropetrovsk.

          Basically, look at which cities already have the Russian flag flying over their administration. These are all potential candidates for extending the invasion. Russian TV has already shown a map like this:

        • int19h: It really is clear that a concerted effort to break off the Donbas region, the list of cities you recited, is underway. The most troubling aspect is that if Putin pushes this, he will not be able to back off, this because if a united Ukraine results from negotiation, Ukranians will have overwhelming reason to pursue much greater alliance with the EU. I would suppose Putin accepts this line of reasoning, and therefore has every incentive not to back off.

        • Cliff H,
          I’m not going to respond to most of your statements except to say that they are (by your own admission) sympathetic to Russia. Ukraine has been in conflict with Russia for much longer than you lay out in your statement. The Hetmanate was formed in response to Russian aggression and the practice of serfdom (a form of slavery).

        • >> The Hetmanate was formed in response to Russian aggression and the practice of serfdom (a form of slavery).

          Huh? Hetmanate was formed by Khmelnitsky to coordinate the Cossack uprising against Poland (Ukraine being a part of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth then) – the same uprising that, ultimately, resulted in the signing of Pereyaslav Rada which made Ukraine a part of the Tsardom of Russia.

          If you’re referring to the Cossack state that preceded the Hetmanate (which didn’t really have any firm power structures in place, being very much a frontier society), then that is also incorrect. It was not “formed in response to Russian aggression”. Most of the lands of Ukraine (and Hetmanate) were part of Kievan Rus, which is a precursor state for both modern Russia and modern Ukraine, and the people inhabiting it were then a single eastern Slavic ethnicity and culture, albeit with regional variations. Cossacks, specifically, were slowly formed by a trickle down of settlers to the lower reaches of the rivers of the region, most notably Don, after the demise of the (non-Slavic) steppe nomads that previously dominated that region.

          This started pretty early on, sometime in 13th century, when there was still no distinct Ukrainian and Russian culture, and the single state had just fragmented under the strikes of Mongols from the East, and Grand Duchy of Lithuania from the West. Now it’s true that much later on – around 15th century – the settlers were quite often serfs from Russian Tsardom/Empire and Poland-Lithuania, who were running away from their lords (both countries had serfdom, and both, as they centralized, have gradually strengthened the bondage it implied to the point where it was slavery in all but name). However, this serfdom was practiced against the native peasant population of Russia and Poland, it was not some kind of slave trade in prisoners of war or something, which your comment would seem to imply from “aggression”.

          So the Cossack state, which largely set the roots of the modern Ukrainian nationhood and statehood, was a unique warrior-democracy frontier society created by the mixing of the more adventurous settlers and refugees (from both slavery and law in general) of all nations that lived in or near that region – Ukrainians, Belarusians, Russians, Poles, Tatars, and the numerous Turkic nomadic steppe tribes.

        • @int18h,

          If that map is truly Russia’s objectives then the Ukrainian military has no choice but to commit the entirety of their forces to battle (to include calling up all military-aged males for service). Any scenario in which Russia tries to take territory beyond Crimea will be bitterly contested by Ukraine in open war.

          • Well, so far it’s the map of regions where the locals (or people posing as locals) raised Russian flags over the local govt buildings… this does not necessarily translate to definitive list of military objectives, but given the recent UN speech by the Russian representative, with its whole “protect Russians against oppression” angle, all of those can potentially be justified on those grounds.

            Ukraine has already started low-scale mobilization – not everyone, not most even, but key people are being called into duty to organize the rest of it if needed. Volunteers are already swarming the voenkomats (military commissariat – an administrative agency in a given region that manages draft and mobilization). It should be noted that this is happening in Eastern Ukraine, as well. Here’s photos from voenkomat in Dnepropetrovsk: But they are currently turning them down, telling people to go home and wait until mobilization is officially announced.

  2. Actually, all of these weapons are in service with the majority of former Soviet Republics. The original poster is promoting the paranoid fantasy Russia would bother to send covert troops when they have several dozen veteran divisions that they could roll in the old fashioned way. White the hardware is fairly cool, can we keep the fantasies to a minimum?

      • So are you saying that these are NOT Russian Marines, that the helicopters flying in were not from Russia, and that the vehicles with Russian license plates spotted by the news media that carried armed soldiers who surrounded Ukrainian military bases and asked the bases to surrender are not Russian military vehicles full of Russian soldiers? That the Kremlin did not specifically authorize Putin to use military forces in both Crimea and in eastern Ukraine? Man, that must be some isolated Pacific atoll you’ve been vacationing on.

        • Or someone who realizes that there is a large Russian ethnic majority in Crimea who might not be ecstatic wight he change in leadership in Kiev. That same ethnic majority who would have no problems obtaining Soviet block equipment and uniforms.

        • And who is bank rolling and training this ethnic majority? Uniforms I could see, though they are way too coordinated to me, but the hardware they are sporting didn’t come from a surplus auction. I’ve seen several close up shots of the vehicles and a lot of them look like they have new paint jobs, way too shiny to be surplus used equipment. Now why would that be? Oh right, to cover up the Russian military markings. The thing is, you are thinking exactly what Putin wants people to think to buy him time. He didn’t find out about the protests in Ukraine when the rest of us did. He has probably seen this coming for weeks if not months and has been gearing up the whole time. I wouldn’t put it past him to help things a long just to give him an excuse to go in.

        • @Charles

          You forget that the Soviet block has mandatory military service. Almost every male over age 30 has served in the military at some point. This looks to me like a local paramilitary group who is concerned that their democratically elected president was overthrown by people who have openly decried their very existence

          It’s possible they are getting support from the Russians, but it also would not be the first time that first line Russian small arms wound up on the open market. Don’t forget, Crimea is a relatively wealthy portion of Ukraine with close ties to the Russian military complex. It would not be difficult for a paramilitary group to obtain small arms and other equipment.

        • Mate you are living in a fantasy world if you think this is a “paramilitary force”. They’re far too uniformed in appearance, they look too professionally trained, and they are all sporting the latest in Russian small arms. In short, these guys look very well funded and highly organized, far above the funding and organization level you’d expect of a paramilitary unit. Plus it’s EXTREMELY rare to see paramilitary forces equipped with IFVs and APCs and you NEVER see them using military aircraft.

          Or you could just be a Putin fanboy.

        • It fairly stuns me that you could refer to the overthrow of “their democratically elected” leader. After first taking out the previous president on trumped up charges a sham election was held. I haven’t heard a different opinion from the EU, the Canadians, or other credible sources. You are actually talking the Kremlin line.

        • pwrserge: I get where you are coming from, but Moscow has made statements confirming that these are in fact Russian troops, authorized by parliament. If Moscow had denied that they were Russian troops, I’d could totally see these guys being paramilitaries or some kind of militia.

        • Ok… So it looks like crowds of Crimean protestors are about to storm those Ukrainian bases in Crimea. I’ll be ready to call this an “invasion” when you see Russian flags in Kiev. Until such a time, the Russians are basically keeping a bunch of Ukrainian sailors from getting lynched.

          Note that the commander of the Ukrainian Navy has pledged allegiance to Crimea and not the new government in Kiev.

          Note: Good or not, Yanukovich was elected. He was also VERY popular amongst a large chunk of the Russian speaking population. What we saw in Kiev was no less than a coup against a democratically elected government. (Justified or not)

    • I don’t dispute that these weapons are in service in many of the old Soviet Republics, and I don’t know what the poster’s motives are, paranoid or not. However, are you arguing that the troops in the unmarked uniforms are NOT Russian troops?

      • I would point out that it would make little sense for Russia to start an international incident this way. The “troops” are ethnically Russian residents of Crimea (Ukrainian citizens) who are worried about anti-russian radicals taking their coup in Kiev to the logical conclusion.

        Let’s recall the war in Georgia… If the Russians were making a move on Crimea, they would be a lot less subtle.

        • Negative. They are Russian troops. You see Putin isn’t an idiot. He knows that if he sends in full fledged Russian units with all the military markings to verify, the United Nations and the international community may get involved immediately, and slow down his power move. By sending in unmarked units, he is playing the “Fog of War” card and delaying a U.N. response or a response from any other nation until everything can be “verified” to the satisfaction of the lazy politicians. He is just buying extra time to get everything moving and into position.

        • @Charles

          If this was a military takeover, it is one of the most inept ones in the history of warfare. I think it is far more probable that the ethnically Russian majority in Crimea are simply trying to make sure that the same people who decided to throw a democratically elected president out of power don’t come down to Crimea.

          Don’t forget, the protestors in Kiev were largely ethnically Ukrainian. A large portion of them really don’t like the fact that Crimea is more Russian than Ukranian. (and has been for centuries.)

          I have relatives in Semferopol and Sevastopol. The were rather pissed about the coup in Kiev.

        • I never said it was a military take over. Putin’s end game could be a lot of things. Nonetheless, it may appear anemic to you, but it is more than enough to overwhelm the Ukrainian forces in Crimea. Besides, those unmarked troops are a delaying action. The veteran divisions are rolling in right now.

        • This is also Putin’s back up to his back up plan. He’s been “subtle”, helping Yanukovic get elected (after getting booted the first time), then dangling $15 billion in “loans” to get Ukraine to join his Trade Union of Former Soviet Socialist Republics. Now, he’s going with Plan C: keep control of the territory of strategic interest to him and won’t require occupation while leaving just enough ambiguity to give him wiggle room until done is done (although using vehicles with Russian plates isn’t as inconspicuous as it could be).

        • You guys seem to forget that a very large percentage of Ukrainian citizens are ethnically Russian. Yanukovich was elected by these people and the fact that their votes were basically ignored is bound to get them nervous.

          Let me use myself as an example… I was born in Kiev when it was still a regional capital for the Soviet Union. I can understand Ukrainian, but can’t really speak it. While I have lived in the US for more than two decades at this point, I still consider myself ethnically Russian, nor Ukrainian.

          Now this is where we need to talk about possibilities and probabilities. Is it POSSIBLE those are Russian troops? Yes, of course it is. However, it is far more PROBABLE that this is a local group who has access to Soviet equipment that has decided that they don’t like being dictated to by a vocal minority in Kiev. Don’t forget, Yanukovich was actually rather popular in large areas of the country. (Like the Crimea.) The fact that there was not a peaceful and lawful transition of power is going to make people in those areas more than a bit upset.

        • ‘…it would make little sense for Russia to start an international incident this way.’

          Why not? What, do you think Putin’s trembling in fear over BO’s feckless response? Face it, America is being led by a bunch of pussies and western Europe always has been.

        • BTW, I do believe there were a lot of ethnic Germans in the Sudetenland.

        • pwrserge,

          The dead giveaway that the unmarked troops were Russians were, wait for it… They are all wearing the basically brand-new Ratnik digital print uniforms of the Russian army. They look absolutely nothing like any of the Ukraine armed forces uniforms.

          Yeah, they could’ve given the uniforms to Ukraine’s army, but – really?

          I was trying to explain the situation to my wife tonight… The way I put it in a western analogy, sort of directly comparable to the US – what if Quebec suddenly seceded from Canada and swore allegiance to the EU or France, began violently protesting against Canadian federalism, and Canada didn’t have the necessary manpower to contain what could spiral out into a nationwide rebellion. What if Canada requested military assistance from the US? Would sending a couple NG units constitute an invasion of Canada?

          I’m trying really hard to stay neutral on this one. I understand why the protestors are upset and did what they did. I also understand why the ethnic Russians of Ukraine would feel allegiance to Russia, and why the deposed government might request military assistance from Russia.

          This is why this is absolutely none of our business.

          Frankly, the best case scenario I hope for, is the peaceful split of Ukraine along its ethnic division lines, if those can be quantified in terms of a well-defined national border. It seems to me based on what I’ve read that the west/east split of the Ukraine is fairly well defined – would you agree?

        • My partner, who is Russian, and was an Officer in the Russian military tells me that this is 99% likely a Russian PMC organization, or a GRU unit in disguise. The equipment is too clean, too modern, too diverse and very much too specialized to be, as you say, in the hands of a bunch of concerned citizens.

          I’m pretty sure he knows what he is talking about far more than many people at this point, considering the fact that he did everything he could to run away from the country when he had a chance.

        • There is a kink in the “none of our business” angle. From what I know, the U.S., the E.U., and Russia were all part of a treaty ensuring the security of Ukraine when the USSR broke apart. I don’t know all the details, but “ensuring the security” could, COULD, *COULD*, depending on how lawyerly types read the agreement, entail coming to the military aid of Ukraine if attacked. Such agreements have been weaseled out of before, but it complicates things.

        • “The veteran divisions are rolling in right now.”

          The Russians have no veteran divisions. What you see in the Ukraine are the Russian “elite” forces. They are the equivalent of the US XVIII Airborne Corps

        • @Gov. William J. Le Petomane says:

          “BTW, I do believe there were a lot of ethnic Germans in the Sudetenland.”

          So the Volksdeutsche in Warsaw and Krakow were just waiting to be liberated?

        • >> Don’t forget, the protestors in Kiev were largely ethnically Ukrainian. A large portion of them really don’t like the fact that Crimea is more Russian than Ukranian. (and has been for centuries.)

          This is bullshit. The protesters in Kiev were a mix of Russians, russophone Ukrainians, and full-fledged Ukrainians from both western and eastern regions of the country. Reason being, they were there protesting a corrupt government, that robs everyone equally.

        • >> Frankly, the best case scenario I hope for, is the peaceful split of Ukraine along its ethnic division lines, if those can be quantified in terms of a well-defined national border. It seems to me based on what I’ve read that the west/east split of the Ukraine is fairly well defined – would you agree?

          There’s no well-defined border.

          There are three broad categories in Ukraine:
          – Russians who speak Russian (and maybe a little bit of Ukrainian)
          – Ukrainians who primarily or only speak Russian
          – Ukrainians who primarily speak Ukrainian (but still speak Russian – everyone does)

          The only region where actual Russians form a majority is Crimea, the others are all split. Ukrainian language dominates the West. Russian language dominates the East, especially southern part near Crimea, but most people who speak it there still self-identify as Ukrainians not Russians. Central regions, including the capital, are more like 50/50.

          Crimea also has Crimean Tatars, about 10% of the population, Muslim, and who have an ax to grind against Russia as a state – they were deported en masse in 1944 on Stalin’s orders due to high rates of collaboration with the Axis during the occupation of the region by the latter. They were only allowed to return to Crimea in 1989. Needless to say, they’re not happy about the perspective of Crimea being a part of Russia again.

        • @Gov. William J. Le Petomane

          Did you forget that the Sudetenland was ceded to France under the treaty of Versailles? It has always been a part of Germany until then.

          Crimea has been Russian for centuries. This new radical Ukrainian nationalism makes a lot of ethnic Russians feel persecuted. For example, we are considered hicks because we don’t speak Ukrainian. (Even though the language effectively did not exist two decades ago.)

        • Sorry Serge, but the Sudetenland is in Czechoslovakia. Are you thinking of the Saarland? Please consult a map before replying next time.

        • @foggy

          Yeah… I get those confused. Sudetenland includes places like Bohemia… (which of us will claim that Bohemians are not German?) The portion where the territory was ceded under Versailles remains valid as the area was part of the Austrian Empire and very germanic.

        • pwrserge, you’re thinking of Alsace-Lorraine. Germany took it from France in 1871, France took it back in 1918, etc…

          My point about the Sudetenland, in case it was missed here, is that just because there are Russian speaking people in Crimea, it doesn’t mean that Putin’s motives are pure. Not that Putin is Hitler, but at the time I’m sure there were many naive people justifying the annexation. And bear in mind, a lot of people realized Hitler wasn’t a nice guy or anything, but nobody knew Hitler was Hitler yet.

        • pwserge,
          Really? The Ukrainian language didn’t exist a couple of decades ago? Then how did my 94 year old great aunt insist on marrying a Ukrainian speaker 30 years go? What language was she speaking to my grandmother when my father was a child? Rubbish.

        • As it is today? No, it did not. The language has changed rather drastically in the past 20 years. I grew up hearing it first hand, I should know.

    • “when they have several dozen veteran divisions that they could roll in the old fashioned way”

      …Am I missing something, isn’t that what they just did??

      • If it were, there would be a Russian Federation flag flying over Kiev. This is a local paramilitary group. These guys are way too half assed to be spetsnaz.

        It is quite likely that they are getting under the table support from the Russians, but I fail to see the problem with that. The majority of Crimea is Russian, they voted for the president that the radicals in Kiev just ran out of town. It would be natural that they are concerned and taking measures.

        • After a couple days of thinking about it, I can see why the Russians would be concerned enough to either support a local group or send some troops in. A disorderly change of power (maybe justified, maybe not) just took place right on Russia’s border. And there is also the ethnic relationship that you speak of.

          Frankly, I think a lot of Americans (myself included) don’t have a real understanding of what ethnic ties may mean to some people. It’s a foreign concept to me. My ancestors got to this country in the 1870’s and the only thing I retain from the old country after several generations is my last name. But that is not how it is for other people in the world, especially those with centuries long relationships with one-another.

          Hope nobody takes me too seriously – I’m just a guy with a keyboard. But I do hope the whole thing gets settled without any Russian ammunition being fired at anyone out of any Russian rifles.

    • What an odd allegation. Officers of the Russian 76th Division, a non-conscript bunch, have already been reported to be commanding the operations by Moscow news sources. The Black Sea Fleet has not only Marines, but one of the better Spec Ops units permanently assigned. The choppers flying the “Ukranian” troops you speak of are Russian BS Fleet choppers, which I only assert because Ukraina does not have the model in inventory. Moscow isn’t even pretending their troops are not in charge.

      When a commander was asked by BBC two days ago whether he could tell them his nationality he replied “no, obviously not,” Doesn’t get much clearer than that.

      • “No, obviously not.” is somehow clear? As I said… You’re forgetting that Crimea has a huge Russian population that is rather pissed about events in Kiev. They have been talking about seceding for almost a decade, the fact that they just saw an elected president run out of office by a mob might have simply been the tipping point.

        I’d like to see a citation on those “Russian news sources”…

        • pws, if the troops around the Ukranian bases in the Crimea were Ukranian, they would certainly say so. You haven’t been getting a major newspaper. The Russians aren’t even denying the movement throughout the Crimea and also toward Kharkov.

          Ukranian troops would be willing to announce that they were such. Russian troops would not. There isn’t more to the troop issue.

          No one is surprised that Russian will not let the Crimea or other largely ethic Russian areas of importance remain part of any Ukraine that allies with Europe. But denying that that is what is going on, the establishment of military control such as could either a. bully the Ukraine back to the Moscow line or b. retain control if “a.” fails, simply doesn’t fit the facts.

    • I didn’t detect the ‘covert troops’ issue. Virtually every source simply assumes that BDU jackets without insignia were issued to various troops that would normally be identifiable. The troops themselves are unwilling to state their own nationality, which makes the issue simple enough. It isn’t about cloak-and-dagger, but about being able to say later “those troops where Ukrainian.” I’ll point out what you already know, that Ukrainian troops wear name-tags, rank insiginia, and unit identifiers, as do Russian troops. In other words, someone had to take trouble to get the fellows into nameless rankless jackets.

      Also, the photos with this post are about small arms. Much better photos of units in place and maneuvering are available from the press and online.

    • pwr: From Bloomberg Financial News today: “Ukraine’s defense minister said Russia sent 6,000 more soldiers into Crimea within a 24-hour period over the weekend and that number is increasing “every hour” according to Yuriy Sergeyev, Ukraine’s ambassador to the United Nations. The new government in Kiev said efforts to speak with Russia’s Foreign Ministry were ignored.”

      You can find the same coverage in the Times of London, Neue Zürcher Zeitung and other papers.
      There simply isn’t any doubt in anyone’s mind (save, perhaps, yours) that the troops on maneuver and surrounding Ukranian bases are Russian.

    • From the Guardian: Senior US officials dismissed claims that Washington is incapable of exerting influence on the Russian president, Vladimir Putin, but were forced to admit that Crimea had been successfully invaded by 6,000 airborne and ground troops in what could be the start of a wider invasion.

      Crimea successfully invaded by Russian troops….admits Washington…….

      • You do remember that Russia has large military bases in Crimea? Right? Would the US transferring the 101st Airborne to Stuttgard constitute an “invasion” of Germany?

        • You’re really not going to give up are you? I’ll answer this one at least. . . if the US sent troops to Germany and had them surround NATO bases there, while the Germans ask for clarification from the US about the nature of the troop movement and receive nothing but silence then one would call that an invasion, and a rather sneaky one at that.

          Besides that, you’re denying your own point, either these are Russian troops ‘transferred’ to Russian bases in the Crimea (who subsequently got lost and ended up out Ukrainian bases) who forgot to sew unit insignia on their jackets before the ‘transfer’ or they are a shadowy Ukrainian para-military unit inexplicably using Russian weapons and uniforms sans patches, driving Russian military vehicles with Russian license plates.

          There is a third option that seems a little more likely and has far fewer major holes in it; that these are Russian troops quietly but obviously ‘invading’ to protect Russian interests. (If the government doesn’t want the troops of another government in it’s territory it’s called an invasion when they show up anyway.)

          What’s pretty certain is that it’s not all three!

        • @Ardent

          Or, you know… It could be a local paramilitary group with Russian support that does the surroundings while the Russians more more troops to their bases to back them up. Simple, no?

    • They’re wearing brand new Russian digital camo. This was adopted in 2008, and no other ex-USSR military has it. In particular, Ukrainian army still uses the old, 1984-pattern Soviet camo.

      Besides, there are numerous witness statements that the soldiers themselves identified as Russian.

      • Because nobody can get unmarked camouflage gear commercially? Good thing half my gun stuff is not in ACU. [/sarc]

        • Trollo, I have been posting here for almost two years. Just because I point out blatantly flawed arguments does not mean that I am a paid GRU plant.

        • Posts in this thread indicate you’re utterly clueless. Perhaps you can help Obuma sort thngs out.

        • Dipshit. I am FROM Ukraine. I know far more about this situation and the background of it that the majority of this board combined. The only people clueless here are those applying cold war stereotypes to the 21st century.

          As for assholes who keep pointing to the “Russian” genocide of “Ukrainians” in the 20s and 30s… I call bullshit.
          1. Staling was Georgian, not Russian.
          2. The famine was targeted at all farmers in Ukraine, not just ethnically Ukrainian ones.
          3. There have been Russians living in Ukraine since the 1700s and the Crimea has been majority Russian since the 18th century.
          4. My family has personal experience in all the incidents above. I have relatives in both Kiev and Sevastopol. I just visited them for Christmas this year. I have TALKED to the protestors myself. They are hardline Ukrainian ultra nationalists.

          Sit down and shut up. This is none of America’s business.

        • So pray tell me, where can I buy a full set of the new Russian army gear? Camo, helmets (those are new, too), boots etc?

          Why do you persist in peddling that nonsense when even the Russian government had itself openly admitted that it has troops on the ground in Crimea?

          FWIW, I’m Russian, and I have plenty of friends in Ukraine, so don’t claim that you know something that I do not – unless you’re literally posting from the streets of Simferopol right now.

        • You are an obstinate commie pro Putin loving troll. Just come out and say it instead of going on and on with your nonsense. Honesty is respectable, however, invasions in the 21st century are not.

    • FWIW, that the white arm bands you see on a lot of the unidentified, yet heavily armed and well disciplined masked pro-Russian gunmen is a practice also employed by Spetsnaz GRU. There’s security camera footage of a really tooled up team seizing one of the government buildings in Crimea and they are definitely know what they’re doing.

    • pwrserge, here you go, the Monday Morning “the Russians are not invading” edition, via Reuters:
      KIEV (Reuters) – Russia’s Black Sea Fleet has told Ukrainian forces in Crimea to surrender by 5 a.m. [12:00 a.m. EST] on Tuesday or face a military assault, Interfax news agency quoted a source in the Ukrainian Defence Ministry as saying.

      The ultimatum, Interfax said, was issued by Alexander Vitko, the fleet’s commander.

      The ministry did not immediately confirm the report and there was no immediate comment by the Black Sea Fleet, which has a base in Crimea, where Russian forces are in control.

      “If they do not surrender before 5 a.m. tomorrow, a real assault will be started against units and divisions of the armed forces across Crimea,” the agency quoted the ministry source as saying.

      Read more:

      • Yes… and the stooges in the Ukrainian government would have no reason to lie. [/sarc] More than likely, the this demand came from armed Crimean citizens who want the surrender of occupying troops from a government that was forced on them via a coup.

    • So, Serge, you work for RTI, or Pravda- sorry- Rossiya Segodnya? Those old KGB propaganda and Dezinformatsiya techniques still come in handy. The West still has many useful idiots that will eat it up. Your English is almost as good as Vladimir Pozners.

      What’s mainly wrong in Europe is that they’re still just a bunch of tribal cultures, and it all comes down to blood. It’s dressed up in nice things and the trappings of civilization, but the Nazi’s came from the same culture that brought us Beethoven, Faust and Bach. When we Americans see these sorts of conflicts, we should reflect for a moment on the uniqueness of America in human history, and how hard it is to get past tribalism.

    • Seems that you are from Mars, considering of your comments about weapons and other former and today RF military equipment

  3. So the Ruskies are buying stuff on the net illegally? There are laws out here that are pretty darn specific about exportation of stuff like gun sights, etc. in this country. So what gives?

    Look at this page and the disclosure from Optics Planet which states:

    “Government Export Restriction This item may be regulated for export by the U.S. Department of State or the U.S. Department of Commerce. Please see our Export Policy prior to placing your order.”

    • The main function of many of the OP “export restricted” statements is to make the items sexier for US buyers. The exception to that is Gen3 and 4 NV equipment and IR sights and cameras. I’m not going to bother, but you can check my comment by looking into current DoJ prosecutions of unapproved export sales. The indictments will list the equipment that was involved.

      I have to say I laugh at some of the “but you can’t do that!” comments. We can buy Genn4 NV and select-fire weapons for use on the farm, but you think the Russians cannot obtain similar items? I don’t get it. Borders shmorders. Ask the next Mexican lawn-service guy you meet, if you can speak new world Spanish.

      Literally tons of drugs flow across our borders every week. And you thing NV, EO’s, and such are difficult to move?

      • You must understand that Holder/DOJ is tied up with prosecuting the Black Panthers and votig fraud, Cleaning up the IRS and ATF. Fixing the border problems. No time to worry about arms exports to our communist “friends”.

        “PEACE IN OUR TIME” guys.

    • You can buy genuine Aimpoints and Eotechs in Russia. As noted, they can be exported legally, though it’s a convoluted process, which also makes them that much more expensive.

      Naturally those aren’t army issue, but some troops run them on their own money. There are also organizations which take people’s donations for troops to buy this kind of gear, that mostly goes to those serving in “hot spots” like Chechnya. Their presence in the photos would indicate that these are not your common conscripts.

    • You can Get American made equipment all over the world.
      You can get them from illegitimate sellers on sites like eBay, or you can get them from legitimate brick and mortar shops.

      Or the US government just hands over a bunch of shit for free, id you tell them that you like capitalism.

  4. wtf is that guy on the bottom-right doing?

    Oh well. You can bet we had a hand in the government getting tossed… I’m sure if Russia did something similar in Mexico we’d react as well.

    • If WE did something similar in Mexico (which, in fact we never had legal title to), there would not be a damn thing the Russians or the rest of the world could actually do. Which is the situation in Crimea.

      • Actually, we DID do something similar in Mexico… War of Texan Independence ring a bell?

      • Bingo, buddy assisted firing position. Can be done like that standing or sitting, or prone across the back if the other guy is at right angle to the shooter. Last one isn’t so good because one of you is exposing the maximum possible profile to the target.

        After being trained how to do this, I don’t know if we ever actually used it.

        • My ears are ringing just thinking about being that poor bastard without ear pro. >_< Time and place, priorities, blah blah blah, but 7.62x54R muzzle blast at point blank? Ouchies.

        • Wow, that sounds horrible for the guy who is acting as the platform! A loud rifle going off with the muzzle so close to your ear…. Not saying soldiers shouldn’t do that, just making an innocent observation.

        • Yeah… Now imagine a gunner pulling that trick with an MG42… (The Heer used that as standard practice for grenadiers.)

        • It’s likely the guy with the rifle was just taking a look at something through the scope. Not the most safe thing to do, but not necessarily meaning anyone is about to get shot either. And the guy with the SVD in that pic also has an AK-74 slung while the guy acting as the “bipod” doesn’t seem to be carrying any other weapon, so he may have just let the other guy use his scope to check something out.

    • I think that “sheet metal” gun you speak of has earned a pretty sizable reputation of working.

    • there are several stamped sheet metal receiver firearms currently in frontline and former service in the US military. can you name them?

      • Off the top of my head M60, M240, and HK G3(I prefer the FAL, but still a wonderful rifle)

  5. Interesting they have EO Techs… maybe they’ve been obtained from a secondary market?

    Zenit AK accessories are pretty pricey. Circle 10 AK is carrying them on their website now, though.

      • The Russians produce sights which are better than the Chinese knockoffs, but worse (everything is….) than EOTechs. The 512 is not so tightly controled, but export of the night-vision compatible models are more restricted. So they say.

    • These are likely genuine as you can buy them in Russia. Not standard issue, naturally, but some people buy them out of pocket.

  6. Another variation of the 1949 Kalashnikov design. Oh Wow! I think I’ll trot right out and buy one.



        • The ideal would be two rolls of duct tape. One with the American Flag on it, the other red with the hammer and sickle.

          And to mess with people it would probably be a 7.62 AR and 5.56 AK.

  7. What amzase me how much modern military Russia seem have these days. The old days where Russia would attack with numbers and using subpar military equipment are pretty much over. Large part Russia may be thrid world counrty but they field Millitary seem developing right long with all other frist world counrtys militarys in arms quality.

    • You realize those days were over decades ago, right? USSR was already a pretty damn modern army in Afghanistan, and operated not all that different from how Americans do there today. Look up the casualty figures for Soviet troops vs mujahideen…

  8. Interesting, to be sure, but I don’t ascribe much meaning to it. I don’t know enough about the people/weapons of the area, and I’m not terribly inclined to believe random people from the internet.

    • Much meaning to what? I don’t even understand the points of contention in this thread.

      Anyone who supposes several thousand Russian troops are not taking part in securing Crimea, or that thousands more haven’t been marshalled to the border close to Kharkov hasn’t been reading the Moscow papers. Forget the net.

      The points to be scored by Russia with the likes of pwrserge’s relatives are enormous, and they know it. Putins task is to make the ethnic Russian population in Ukraina feel secure, so that they will take on much of the work themselves. I have no doubt this element is succeeding.

      • This isn’t about making ethnic Russians in Ukraine ‘feel secure’. This is about making the Russians in Moscow feel like they have a buffer state between them and NATO.

        Russia has always tried to turn the governments on it’s borders into puppets. It hasn’t always succeeded, but it has always tried.