Recently, it has been reported that Russian special services are making considerable efforts to “obtain” American Javelin anti-tank systems, which the allies handed over to Ukraine as part of military-technical assistance. The International Centre for Countering Russian Propaganda analysed the situation and found out why Russia has American weapons. Really for the next provocations?

Getting such modern anti-armour systems into Russian hands can not only pay dividends for Russia’s creation and development of similar systems (we remember that the Russians do not know how to produce anything; most of the weapons and military equipment were stolen and appropriated). The use of stolen ATGMs is possible by the Russians at other sites of hostilities, or on the territory of Ukraine itself. Or, among other things, to provoke the strengthening of hostilities against Ukraine. After all, no one is stopping Russian GRUshniks from destroying the armoured personnel carriers of the Russian Marines in Chongar at the time of the rotation of advanced units and blaming Ukrainian paratroopers. Or to strike with Hungarian ATMG Javelin at Hungarian border guards in Zakarpattia and provoke interstate complications on Ukraine’s western borders.

There is another option – to demonstrate to the world community that Ukraine is not a reliable partner in the field of military-technical cooperation and cannot keep modern models of military technology. Which, at least, will affect the image of our country in the world and weaken its position in the world arms market, and will lead to significant financial losses.

Thus, the option of hunting ATGM Javelin by Russian special services, also with the use of their agents from among the citizens of Ukraine, is assumed. I think that our specialists of the relevant forces also consider such options and work ahead.

Operations of Ukrainian Special Forces

In May-July 2014, the Russians conducted an operation against aircraft and helicopters of the Armed Forces of Ukraine. As a result, on 17 July 2014, there occurred a tragedy aboard an MN-17 aircraft, when Russian anti-aircraft missiles shot down a civilian aircraft from its BUK-M1 complex. Namely, confusing it with the military transport aircraft of Ukraine.

Earlier, in May of the same year, the Russians tried to shoot down planes near the airport in the city of Kramatorsk. The story of their neutralisation became an example of the first successful actions of Ukrainian special forces. After thinking over the possible actions of the enemy, the place of reference for the successful launch of missiles at air targets, the Ukrainian soldiers ambushed the Kramatorsk cemetery. It was was convenient from there for the enemy to shoot down a plane that was approaching or taking off. The ambush resulted in the killing of the MPADS operator and driver and the capture of two Russian propagandists, Life News journalists Oleg Sidyakin and Marat Savchenko.

These propagandists, adapted for the correspondents of the Russian television channel Life News, were preparing for a television recording of the process of downing the Ukrainian plane. In addition, they had videos of the murders of Ukrainian servicemen by Russian mercenaries. Ukraine remembers how in 2014 the enemy filled the information space of our state with emotional illustrations of failures of the Ukrainian army. After all, the deaths of our soldiers have a negative impact on the personnel of the troops and the population, reducing psychological stability and readiness to perform combat missions.

It should be noted that the Polish-made Grom E2 MPADS were seized by special forces. This type of weapon fell into the hands of the Russians as a result of the active phase of the Russian-Georgian war in 2008. At the same time, other models of weapons used by NATO member states passed to the occupiers. In most cases, the Russians hired them to use airborne troops, who often “play” for the enemy in training. But later, these samples of weapons were used at the right time and in the right place.

In 2014, such a time and place came. With the help of this MPADS of Polish production, the Russians tried to shoot down the Ukrainian plane. By such actions, the enemy sought to involve the Polish side in the conflict, demonstrating Poland’s inability to control the spread of weapons in the world and to participate in supporting illegal armed groups. Perhaps there was another interpretation – the support of certain representatives of the Republic of Poland of the anti-Ukrainian movement in the East of our state, that is, a kind of internationalisation of the liberation struggle of the “people of Donbas.”

Soldier JavelinHowever, such an attempt was unsuccessful due to the actions of Ukrainian special forces soldiers. The Russians did not receive any information dividends, except for the heroisation of their propagandists, whom the Ukrainian side immediately sent home. By the way, it should be noted how actively the whole propaganda machine of the Kremlin was to liberate its bloody propagandists involved: from the support of Russian statesmen to the publication of photos with hashtags. As a result, our state released Russian citizens who were preparing to videotape the murder of Ukrainian citizens without any conditions.

Weapons for Hybrid War

Today, Russian propaganda needs Javelin. And the enemy does not hide it. On the pages of the online edition of the Russian intelligence “Military Review,” on 24 March 2019, an article titled “Russia has a chance to get “Ukrainian” FGM-148 Javelin” was published, where the enemy points out:

“At least in order to ensure that Javelin parts do not end up in one of the Ukrainian online stores. But on the background of the pre-election and, probably, post-election disarray and swaying in Ukraine, there is still a chance to get American-made complexes, which were in the service of the Ukrainian army.”

At the same time, the option that the Russians already have a Javelin model in their hands is not ruled out. Thus, in 2018, the Russian edition of Freedomnews distributed an article “Russia Managed to Capture the American ATGM “Javelin.” Of course, you should not trust the enemy, but it is important to guess possible further scenarios. The ability of Russians to conduct mobile information campaigns and change information trends and accents in a timely manner is observed. Therefore, all possible scenarios should be considered.

In conclusion, it is possible to note that the Russian side is interested in capturing the third generation of American-made ATGM Javelin in Ukraine and Syria. Nowadays, ISIS militants can have samples of ATGM Javelin. Iraqi military personnel seized only one sample of American-made ATGM in the direction where Iraqi tank units were used during the offensive.

Probably, the Russian military in Syria failed to capture Javelin. At the same time, the Russian authorities are conducting a broad information campaign to discredit the technical capability of the American ATGM and the expediency of handing it over to Ukraine to counter Russian aggression.

A successful provocation with Javelin can bring considerable advantages to the Russian Federation against Ukraine and the world’s leading countries. After all, destroying civilian equipment, such as non-Russian / Soviet aircraft, is always more profitable for Russians to succeed in a “hybrid” war. Then, there will be no need to bear legal and social responsibility at the international level. On the contrary, it will have an incredible impact on the target state. Let us remember that.

Timofiy Holtz, source International Centre for Countering Russian Propaganda

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