Subscribe free to our newsletters via your
. Military Space News .

Soldier's 'selfie' raises questions over Moscow's role in Ukraine
by Staff Writers
Moscow (AFP) Aug 02, 2014

Photos taken by a Russian soldier have sparked controversy after it was revealed they may have been taken in Ukraine, despite Moscow's denials that its troops have intervened in the conflict across the border.

Alexander Sotkin, a 24-year-old Russian soldier and regular user of the photo-sharing app Instagram, recently uploaded a series of 'selfie' images of himself in uniform.

While the content of the photographs gives little away, the app's geolocation data showed that a number of the pictures were taken in Ukraine.

Images shared on Instagram can be "geotagged" -- which means the location of where the picture was taken is published along with the photograph.

A series of earlier images show Sotkin's location to be the village of Voloshino in southern Russia, where his unit appears to be based.

But two pictures posted on July 5 and 6 are geotagged 10 kilometres (6 miles) away, across the border in Ukraine.

First reported by the US news site BuzzFeed, the two selfies could represent proof the Russian army has crossed the border into Ukraine despite denials by the Kremlin.

While it is possible to falsify the geolocation of photos posted online, it requires a particularly advanced knowledge of coding, a computer expert told AFP.

The Russian Defence Ministry has refused to comment on the reports.

BuzzFeed said other Russian soldiers have published photographs of their activities on the Russian social network Vkontakte without geolocation data but with captions suggesting that Russia has fired artillery into Ukraine, as Kiev and Washington allege.

"We pounded Ukraine all night," wrote solder Vadim Grigoriyev on July 23 under a photo showing two artillery pieces in a wheat field with open shell boxes nearby.

Grigoriyev then appeared on a state TV channel where he denied posting them.

"They were photos taken a long time ago. Most likely my Vkontakte page was hacked," Grigoriyev said on Rossiya24.

"Grads toward Ukraine," wrote another soldier, Mikhail Chugunov, alongside two photos of a rocket launcher on Vkontakte.

UN officials have called for a halt of using the unguided missiles near populated areas.

- 'Show off to girlfriends' -

Russian MPs, meanwhile, have called for a halt to soldiers using social networking sites to share information of potential value to its foes.

"These soldiers will reveal anything -- that they are in Ukraine, for example -- just to show off to their girlfriends," Russian MP Vadim Soloviev told AFP.

Soloviev, who recently proposed a bill aimed at limiting Internet use by Russian soldiers, believes that over-sharing is a "threat to Russia," and that information "can be used by Westerners for espionage or disinformation".

"Soldiers should be subject to rules of confidentiality - and if they violate that, they should answer to the disciplinary board," the MP said.

Military expert Alexandre Golts, deputy editor of Russian website, told AFP it was "difficult to understand how this law could be applied," adding it would be more effective to forbid soldiers from using the Internet entirely.

"We understand why this law is needed," Golts said. "After all, it is thanks to photos posted by soldiers that the world knew that Russian special forces were present in Crimea."

Mysterious men in green fatigues, devoid of any distinctive insignia, appeared on the Ukrainian peninsula in early March, a few days before it was annexed by Russia.

Those photos prompted Soloviev, by his own admission, to push forward with the bill.

"It is exactly this scenario that Russia wants to avoid," said Golts.


Related Links
Learn about the Superpowers of the 21st Century at
Learn about nuclear weapons doctrine and defense at

Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle

Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News

Japan gives Vietnam six ships to boost maritime patrols
Hanoi (AFP) Aug 01, 2014
Japan said Friday it would give Vietnam six vessels to boost the communist country's capacity to patrol its territorial waters, amid a bitter maritime dispute with Beijing in the South China Sea. The deal for the six used vessels, worth 500 million yen ($5 million), was announced in Hanoi during a two-day visit by Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida aimed at deepening bilateral ties. ... read more

US Congress approves funding for Israel's Iron Dome

MEADS International touts its air defense system capabilities

Space surveillance satellites being sent into orbit

Patriot getting enhanced radar capabilities

Russia has violated arms treaty by testing cruise missile: US

MD 530G attack helicopters fires Talon rockets

Missile decoy system on Australian, U.S. warships to be upgraded

Man-portable missile successfully fired from vehicle

Brazil's Flight Tech exporting UAV

Drones thrill Martha Stewart... and US prison convicts

K-MAX unmanned cargo helo finishes Afghan deployment

Drones take flight into a world of possibilities

U.S. government using commercial Inmarsat 5 satellite

Lockheed Martin Selected For USAF Satellite Hosted Payload Initiative

AF satellites to contribute to space neighborhood watch

Harris receives order for new tactical radios

F-35B Successfully Completes Wet Runway And Crosswind Testing

Javelin Joint Venture Demonstrates Vehicle-Mounted Missile Launch

US Senate confirms new head for scandal-ridden veterans' bureau

LockMart Completes GMLRS Alternative Warhead Tests

Big win from Army for small Michigan business

Military selects Liquidity Services for continued sale of surplus

Unisys continues services for DISA

Russian company drawing up security ideas for Latin America

NATO to draw up new defence plans amid Ukraine crisis: Rasmussen

Philippines says China sea action plan gaining support

Soldier's 'selfie' raises questions over Moscow's role in Ukraine

China-India energy rivalry in spotlight as Modi visits Nepal

A Crystal Wedding in the Nanocosmos

NIST shows ultrasonically propelled nanorods spin dizzyingly fast

Low cost technique improves properties of nanomaterials

Rice nanophotonics experts create powerful molecular sensor

The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2014 - Space Media Network. All websites are published in Australia and are solely subject to Australian law and governed by Fair Use principals for news reporting and research purposes. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA news reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement All images and articles appearing on Space Media Network have been edited or digitally altered in some way. Any requests to remove copyright material will be acted upon in a timely and appropriate manner. Any attempt to extort money from Space Media Network will be ignored and reported to Australian Law Enforcement Agencies as a potential case of financial fraud involving the use of a telephonic carriage device or postal service.