Does This Soldier's Instagram Prove Russian Troops Are In Ukraine?

| by Jonathan Wolfe

Moscow has consistently denied having troops in Ukraine since the start of the separatist conflict, but a Russian soldier may have just inadvertently blown the Kremlin’s cover.

Max Seddon over at BuzzFeed dug through the Instragram pictures of Russian soldier Alexander Sotkin (sanya_sotkin) and found that several of his pictures were tracked to Ukraine. Unbeknown to Sotkin, Instagram automatically geotags pictures uploaded to the site. Two of Sotkin’s photos were found to have been posted in Ukraine.

First, there is this picture, posted in separatist-controlled Krasna Talychka in Ukraine:

Then, on July 5, Sotkin posted this picture from Krasny Derkul, which is also in Ukraine:

While Russia denies having troops in Ukraine, it’s well-known that they are providing separatist fighters with weapons and supplies. Russia also denies firing artillery into Ukraine, but photos published by the Obama administration this week claim to show exactly that.

Here is one of the photos. It shows blast marks from launches in Russian territory and subsequent impact craters in Ukraine:

The U.S. released satellite images on Sunday that it said proved Russia was shelling Ukrainian positions across the border. Russia's defense ministry said that the claims were untrue because the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine posted the pictures to Twitter.

Last week, Russian soldier Vadim Grigoriev posted multiple pictures of Russian artillery. One of the photos, seen below, was captioned “We pounded Ukraine all night.” Grigoriev later appeared on Russian TV and said someone hacked his account.

Source: BuzzFeed