Thursday, May 28, 2015

Armed With Google and YouTube, Analysts Gauge Russia’s Presence in Ukraine

By MICHAEL R. GORDON, NYT
MAY 27, 2015

WASHINGTON — An unusual investigation using publicly available videos, smartphone photographs and satellite images shows that Russia is continuing to defy the West by conducting protracted military operations inside Ukraine, according to an independent report.

Russia has long dismissed Western allegations that its military has intervened in Ukraine as little more than computer-generated propaganda.

In an attempt to puncture the Russian denials, independent experts have operated like digital Sherlock Holmeses, using Google’s Street View, YouTube, Instagram, Twitter, satellite photographs and Russia’s version of Facebook, including social media updates by Russian soldiers. That research was then supplemented by more traditional sources like court documents and local media reports.

“Independent researchers, using open sources and rigorous methodology, have demonstrated that Russian troops and Russian weapons have been an important part of the fight in Ukraine’s east,” said John E. Herbst, a former American ambassador to Ukraine and one of the authors of the report, Hiding in Plain Sight: Putin’s War in Ukraine, which is to be released Thursday by the Atlantic Council, a Washington-based research center.

(More here.)

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