Creating the pretext for a prolonged war – Russians launch massive missile attack on Luhansk

The leaders of Ukraine, France, Germany and (logically!) Russia sat together for more than 12 hours on January 11 and 12 to discuss a ceasefire amid the ongoing Russian intervention in neighboring Ukraine. In the end, a “deal” was reached in which fighting should cease – not immediately – like Merkel, Hollande and Poroshenko had wished for but after a period of more than 60 hours, precisely at midnight on Saturday night / Sunday morning. This “limited continuation” was asked for by the – not participating “rebels” and formulated by president Putin as one condition for his signature.

Despite the fact that every sane person could see, this demanded prolongation of the active fighting was to create further bloodshed among the Ukrainian troops and to gain more territory – mainly around Debaltseve – until Sunday morning, it took only another 12 hours until Russian invasion forces showed what else they could “achieve” in these 66 hours, namely to create a pretext for the impossibility of the start of a ceasefire by blaming Ukraine for “massacres among the civilian population”, which demand a cotinuation of their offesnives to “save Donbas citizens from nazis”, the known Russian narrative / fake absurdity, out there since 10 months.

At 18:08 local time (19:08 Moscow time which the fake “rebel republics” implemented in occupied Donbas), the Russian-based propanda website “Russian Spring” warned:

According to intelligence reports of the Militia, in order to disrupt the agreements reached in Minsk, the Ukrainian military plans a provocation with numerous victims among the civilian population at 20:00 [19:00 Kiev time] from the direction of Stanitsa Luhanska.

Source

warning

Statement in Russian (as it might disappear from the homepage)

Several Ukrainian-based pro-Russian VK social network sites repeated the warning during the next minutes in what seemed to be a twing of bad conscience amid the knowledge that civilians would be targeted and killed in just a short while.

warning2

warning via “Luhansk 24”

The official “rebel” reasoning that “militia intelligence agencies launched an operation called >Glasnost< to prevent imminent provocations” meanwhile can be almost precluded.

1st: It is not known that Russian spies infiltrated Ukrainian units on the frontline.A warning 1 hour prior a Grad attack is thus very unlikely.

2nd: It simply makes no sense that the Ukrainian site would be interested in a continuation of hostilities as (apart from the far south) it is either holding the line or losing ground since two months, struggling to cope with a suprior Russian invasion force.

3rd: While the Ukrainian army is widely presumed to hit back at Russian artillery and MLRS positions, no matter their proximity to residential buildings, there is no proven case, it ever started a MLRS attack with such brutality and disperion on a predominantly civilian city quarter.

At exactly 19:00 local time (20:00 Moscow / “LC” time”), a massive Grad attack was launched on the eastern quarters of Luhansk, having a radius of more than 2 km. Analysts (among them a source of mine) counted 60 impacts within 20 seconds across the area, meaning “one and a half” full BM-21 Grad missile systems were emptied on civilians in the city of Luhansk.

blasts

impact picture

The missiles did not only hit residential buildings to the north east of the camera position (there are 2 more worse quality videos of the attack) but also in the middle of a main road and electrical infrastructure leading to a total blackout in the area. The wide impact area and sheer quantity of missiles used shows, this attack was merely conducted to terrorize civilians especially against the backgrop that there are no known military targets in that area (different from other parts of Luhansk city). Only the fact that the missile attack happened at night led to a relatively small casualty number among civilians with 4 killed and 7 injured according to preliminary reports.

The obligatory geolocation and analysis of the attack prove the Russian invasion command kept all its promises about the heinous attack. (Graphic!) footage of the direct aftermath of the attack made it possible.

Step one: Identifying an impact location.

Geoloc

Step two: Determining the impact angle of the used Grad missiles.

geoloc2

Step three: Taking into account missile range and territorial possessions around the attacked area.

map2

The analysis shows, not only the Russian forecast of the time but also of the direction of the attack was correct. The attack happened from direction of Stanitsa Luhanska and certainly within the possible 3 km “window of opportunity” inside occupied Zhovtnevyi district.

To complete the Russian cynicism on the attack and once again reflecting a minimum of regret by the local – NOT by the Russian – representatives of the occupation, they posted a statement one hour after the attack, virtuously shouting out:

After all, we have warned that after 20:00 the firing will start !!!!

Source

claim

In conclusion, this is another inhuman act by the Russian invasion command to incite the local population, blame the Ukrainian army for IT’S crimes and create another pretext to prolong the war, an approach, barely surpassable in its malice.

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25 thoughts on “Creating the pretext for a prolonged war – Russians launch massive missile attack on Luhansk

  1. Can the approx firing distance be assesed by the vertical angle of the shells and the dispersion of the impacts ?

    I’ve red such type of analysis few days ago on a pro russian website. They concluded that the kramatosk selling was coming from ukranian side, you may want to havea look at it and fact check it (i don’t have your skills to geolocate pictures and i don’t speak russian/ukrainian which is really limitting me). Would be really interesting to have your crossed analysis on kramatorsk
    source : http://fortruss.blogspot.ca/2015/02/the-proof-that-kramatorsk-tornado.html

    Keep doing such a good job !

    • This is virtually impossible. It depends mostly on the ground, not on the distance of the missile. Generally high angle means lower distance from firing point, but this is also not always the case.

      • Still i think this time you may have been a bit short in your analysis to point at the russian side in such a definitive way.

        At last everything is based on 2 or 3 (troubling) VK posts (which may have been faked, or on the other hand the probability of some leaks from the ukranian side is not totally impossible neither…).

        Anyway really appreciate your blog and analyses (still have to send you some money, i know i know 🙂 ) … Take a look at the kramatorsk shelling and let us know what you think of it !

        Cheers !

      • hey there, thanks anyway! … Not only based on that Russian homepage (not VK) initial “threat” but also on the unreal argument that “Kiev will provok to torpedo the Minsk results”. … “Kiev” is bleeding out and losing this war. They have no reason in the world to shell civilians to give Russians a reason to continue. … Whatever. Have a good evening!

    • Direction is much easier to estimate than distance, distance (exact location along the line of fire) is difficult unless you have some other triangulated data like counterbattery radar, or sound and light direction from at least 2 observer locations. The angle of impact and the shape of craters does not vary so much over the range of the weapon, if the weapon is fired low-angle (below 45 degrees) as would be typical with Grad.

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  3. The analysis is all wrong as you do not take into account the distance.First of all if you fire grad rockets at min distance as you suggest here not only will the impact site be a lot smaller then the one on the video where rocket impacts are visible from one edge(you can hear explosions in the video before yo even see the first explosion on the video which suggests that there are explosions beyond the spectrum of the camera) of the video to the other which means that the explosions are several hundred meters apart.IF you fire Grad’s from close range the impact radius will be 150-200 meters which is not the case in the video.Also if the Grads were fired from 3km away we would see the barrage(also we can hear it but in the videos we don’t hear a barrage being fired nor do we see it) being fired as the speed of a grad missile is 690m/s meaning that it will take only 5 seconds for the first rocket to hit and to fire 40 rounds of Grads you need 20 seconds.So this was clearly done at a longer range which means the one responsible(Geolocation is good but you did not take other facts into account) is the Ukrainian Army.Now it is also stupid to claim that the pro-Russians are shelling their own city because every time Donetsk or Lugansk are hit it is always the pro-Russians, that is like saying that Mariopol and Debaltsevo are being shelled by the Ukrainian Army.So please take into account everything as not all off the crimes are done by one side I mean look at Gorilovka the Ukrainians have been shelling it every day so I doubt that they are not capable to shell Lugansk and Donetsk.If you are objective you should take all the facts into account not only those who suit your claims.All sides do terrible things in war that is why its called war.

    • this is wrong, sorry. I never said one Grad system was involved. Just ““one and a half” full BM-21 Grad missile systems were emptied”, also meaning 2,3 or 4 could have been used, not firing at the same position. Also, I never said 3 km, but 5-8 if your look at my map.
      Finally: The pro-Russian BS argument “they don’t “shell themselves” is rubbish and was proven wrong many times by me and others. OF COURSE they shell their own-held cities after getting troops out of the area. It’s “just Ukrainians” in the end. Bye.

      • Even if it is 5-8km(it is not too close to front line plus terrain is not good there) it still leaves 6-7sec of time for us to hear or see the barrage(and yet we don’t and 5-8km is not that great of a distance I can see more that that from my apartment)so you are again wrong also both Lugansk and Donetsk have large Russian minority and most of them are ethnic Russians so no they are not shelling Ukrainians but Russians.And for last don’t blame the Russian trolls that say Ukraine shelled Kramtorsk and Mariupol because you are doing the same thing as them.

      • Ok. Please show me ANY footage from the war where you can see incoming Grad missiles! … This is just false. They were fired from the N-E TOWARDS the cam. So the engine burn could not be seen as they were flying towards the town and cam.

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  5. You can’t identify source location at a single impact and tracing back to source location. The number of mistakes you’re making are too numerous to fully articulate. In addition to all the factors here:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/External_ballistics

    You’re drawing a straight line on a map. Forgetting that the maps themselves have projection distortions.

    It is extremely difficult to predict the landing location of a shell if you know the exact direction that the gun is pointed. Doing it by looking at landing location/angle is just silly. You have only a rough idea of the angle of impact, especially because shells are almost vertical and tumbling at the end of their path.

    • Patrick, I assume you don’t have much practical experience with rocket/missile artillery? They will not be almost vertical nor tumbling at the end of flight: they will impact at a fairly low angle, under 45 degrees, and will be spin and fin stabilized up to impact. All you need to determine the firing unit direction is either access to a crater or two, or radar data. I am guessing that there was no counterbattery radar running to catch these rockets in flight, so access to the crater and a compass & map is about all someone would need to start determining firing unit direction.

      • You’re making a common mistake, forgetting wind resistance. In high school physics or intro college physics, they’ll teach you about trajectory of projectiles. And neglecting drag, they travel nice parabolic arcs like this:
        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Ideal_projectile_motion_for_different_angles.svg
        Launch at 45 degrees, you get maximum range, and you land at 45 degrees.

        In a more advanced class you learn about drag. Once you add wind resistance the trajectory changes from a parabolic arc to near vertical at the terminal portion of the trajectory. Like this:
        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Mplwp_ballistic_trajectories_velocities.svg

        This is a more serious issue for rocket assisted projectiles because the initial tangential velocity ends up higher and drag accelerations grow in magnitude with velocity.

        (And again, this just covers one issue with the vertical trace of the path. The horizontal is even harder because of the map distortion, wind, Coriolis, air density, spin drift …)

  6. Hi there,

    I like the reports a lot, as those were really insightfull, and not in any way helping any side. Till last two reports. Can I ask what happend. We all know that the Rusian is the agresor and has nothing to do in Ukraine. But your analysis is more and more sticking with Ukraine side. To be able to say where the GRAD system was, when firing only according a photo – ok thats tricky, but to say that the russians moved 4 of their system near to the front line – almost to it, then turned their pricy grads backwards, fired a salve on the city of luhansk… Dont you think there would be a lot of videos posted by UKR forces with funny comments looking on 5km into the field how grads just fired on their own…
    I really like the reports and just hopping, that you will return to the reporting, not making of you the judge of the situations, as then you will end up as just a another one from hundreds who are posting on the web.
    And that would be a shame.

    Nevertheless great work done so far,

    • This “Grad systems turning backwars and firing” sounds not at all unlikely in my opinion. FACT is, RUSSIAN source predicted time and location of the attack. And after it they said: “Stupid Ukrainian. If you died then only because you didn’t listen to us.” … OF COURSE it was them!

      • Here is a video of a grad lunch at night.At 0:32 you can see the rockets traveling to their destination also look at the light it is creating it is like wild forest fire so don’t tell me you can’t see that from 5km.

  7. I’ve complimented your excellent work on here more than once, but you really need to tone down the editorializing. We get that you’re a supporter of Ukraine in this conflict. I am too. But using emotional and often shrill language & diction on the subject just undermines your credibility. I’ve said this before and you dismissed this concern so I don’t expect you to suddenly be receptive to it, but it’s true.

    You can present a pro-Ukrainian view just fine while using objective & professional language, and ultimately it will support your cause far better than emotional editorializing.

      • Hardly “nonsense”. You do it plenty, both on your Twitter account and here.

        Just giving constructive criticism – since you have requests for paid support and appear to want to be taken professionally/seriously, I thought it might be helpful.

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