The pullback of Russian-made heavy flamethrower systems, the so-called Buratino (”Pinocchio”), from the contact line in Donbas, eastern Ukraine, was discussed during Trilateral Contact Group talks in Minsk in January 2015, yet, there is no mention of this type of military hardware in open sources featuring the Minsk agreements concluded on February 11-12, 2015 (Minsk II), according to international OSINT community InformNapalm, which refers to a new portion of leaked emails.
”At least twice, [the Kremlin`s ”grey cardinal”] Vladislav Surkov received through the [firstname.lastname@example.org] mailbox plans of activities for the implementation of the Protocol signed by the Trilateral Contact Group. There were two versions dated January 29 and 30, 2015. Both versions contain the item covering the pullback of heavy flamethrower systems (TOS) to 14km from the contact line,” InformNapalm wrote on Thursday, November 3, with reference to the second portion of leaked emails reportedly linked to Surkov, dubbed SurkovLeaks.
The versions of January 29 and 30 also differ with regard to the detailed descriptions of the ground control points for the withdrawal of the forces, it said.
Previously, in October 2015, BBC News, citing a report by OSCE monitors, mentioned Donbas militants who were operating a TOS-1 Buratino, a modern Russian multiple rocket launcher and a thermobaric weapon. The piece emphasized that the TOS-1 was produced only in the Russian Federation, and had never been exported to Ukraine, according to InformNapalm.
”Additionally, both documents discuss the transfer of counter-battery radar systems from Russia to the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission [to Ukraine] `to ensure the monitoring and verification of the state of ceasefire,`” InformNapalm wrote.
The SurkovLeaks2 data was shared by the Ukrainian Cyber Alliance, consisting of hacktivist groups FalconsFlame, CyberHunta, Trinity, and RUH8, on November 3. It focuses mainly on the email@example.com mailbox. The dump contains 336 incoming and 87 outgoing messages, with the total volume of 340 MB. The emails were retrieved from the reception office of the Russian presidential aide Vladislav Surkov.
According to InformNapalm, the dump contains messages of the early period (2013-2014) and the more recent archives for 2015-2016.
”InformNapalm international volunteer intelligence community conducted verification of the published data and confirmed the authenticity of the emails. While analyzing the data with the help of OSINT methods, it became possible to establish the specific person who owns the mailbox: Maria Vinogradova, adviser to Vladislav Surkov. This mailbox was the destination for some extraordinary and even arguably secret messages, lists, and reports, even though the largest portion of the dump consists of routine and trivial messages,” the OSINT community wrote.
In particular, SurkovLeaks2 emails feature plans to promote the idea of federalization of Ukraine with corresponding amendments to the Ukrainian Constitution and measures aimed to destabilize the situation in the city of Kharkiv. They also concern nominations to senior positions in the self-proclaimed Luhansk People`s Republic and Surkov`s involvement in ”overseeing fuel markets in the self-proclaimed republics.”
In addition, the data contains a large array of emails sent by editor-in-chief of the Russian Reporter magazine Vitaliy Leybin to Surkov.
”For example, in the message with the subject “For V.Yu. [apparently, these are Surkov`s initials that stand for Vladislav Yuryevich] somewhat secret, there are names,” Leybin reports that he met with his friend Igor Guzhva (Vesti Media Holding [with Vesti Daily and Vesti.Reporter Weekly]) on the subject of “the Bigger Ukraine.” “He holds our license for the Kiev version of the `Reporter` [weekly issued in Ukraine] By the way, we promised him help from our European friends on the subject of freedom of speech in Ukraine,` states Leybin in his message,” InformNapalm wrote.
Guzhva left Vesti Media Holding in July 2015, and the weekly was transformed into an online version in October 2015. Guzhva now runs a new online project, strana.ua.