posted at 21:50
Author Name: Paul Szoldra
Russian Soldiers Posts On Instagram Inside Ukraine
Moscow has tried to hide its support for pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine, but some social media posts from a Russian soldier may reveal much more direct involvement in the region. Over at BuzzFeed, reporter Max Seddon has the scoop on a 24-year-old soldier named Alexander Sotkin who has been posting some very interesting photos of his military service, and the locations of the photos are rather telling. With Instagram's geotagging feature, these two photos pulled the latitude and longitude from the GPS on his phone or tablet, placing him well inside Ukraine. Location data is added to photos as long as the user selects "Add to photo map" before posting. One only needs to search certain military-specific hashtags on Instagram to find all kinds of photos of U.S. military personnel stationed worldwide. Still, U.S. intelligence and a vast amount of open-source data, such as social media posts and videos from east Ukraine, has offered a large amount of evidence suggesting that Moscow has been supplying pro-Russian separatists with training, intelligence, and sophisticated weapons systems. While the pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine are tied to Russian intelligence, there hasn't yet been clear evidence of the country's military operating there. It's worth mentioning that Moscow denied having troops in Ukraine's Crimea as well, before Russian President Vladimir Putin finally admitted "Crimean self-defense forces were of course backed by Russian servicemen" in April.

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