Automobile

Mysterious Humvee Has Appeared In Russian Vehicle Convoy Near Ukrainian Border

It’s not inconceivable that this vehicle, or one like, is the same one we can see in the convoy in Rostov Oblast but, again, there is no firm evidence that this is the case. The other vehicles in the convoy are also intriguing, including a BTR-80 armored personnel carrier, some anonymous-looking civilian-type vehicles, and at least one van festooned with antennas, suggesting some kind of communications or electronic warfare role.

The War Zone spoke to Lee, who confirmed his belief in the general accuracy of an account on Russia’s VK social networking service that also identifies the Humvee as the example captured in eastern Ukraine.

Other Ukrainian Humvees are known to have been knocked out or destroyed during the previous fighting and it remains possible that the mystery vehicle we see is one of these that was repaired and returned to action.

This, of course, doesn’t allow us to definitively determine what the Humvee is now doing as part of a convoy in Russia. However, Lee initially suggested that the vehicles could well belong to elements of the Rosgvardia, Russia’s National Guard, which is tasked with roles including securing borders, counter-terrorism, protecting public order, and guarding important state facilities. Important in this context, Rosgvardia answers directly to President Vladimir Putin and it previously absorbed various military and interior ministry Spetsnaz units, and so also has a special operations role.

The blue camouflage that some of these individuals appear to be wearing is commonly associated with OMON units, special police units within Rosgvardia. We have already seen some evidence of Rosgvardia vehicles in the border areas close to Ukraine, suggesting they are expected to be involved in any wider intervention in that country. 

Subsequently, Lee told us that the troops seen around the vehicles look they could be “[pro-Russian] rebels or irregular forces.” Once again, we simply don’t know for sure at this point.

For the moment, there is no hard evidence that the Humvee in question is related to any kind of irregular forces — in fact, there’s nothing to connect it with any particular unit. Similarly, we have no idea whether or not Russia or Russian-backed forces have any concrete plans to sow confusion behind Ukrainian lines, a type of mission that could potentially make use of captured Ukrainian vehicles and other equipment.

Again, while there is no known connection between the convoy and any potential commando-style raids, or similar activities, it is something that Ukrainian officials have spoken about on the record.

“The Russian intelligence network operating here has been installed a long time ago,” said Oleksiy Danilov, Ukraine’s national security adviser, told the Wall Street Journal recently. “Their mission from the Moscow center is simple: destroy, destroy, destroy. They have no other mission except destroying us as a nation.”

What is clear, is that the Russian Army, and other Russian military formations, are gathering not only huge numbers of vehicles in the areas around Ukraine, but also an increasingly wide variety of equipment, ranging from tanks to artillery, ballistic missiles, and air defense systems, all the way down to vital logistics vehicles such as fuel trucks

Then there are the true anomalies, like the Humvee, which we will keep an eye out for if or when it pops up again.

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