After the Soviet Union disintegration Russia inherited its powerful military potential. So, there was large quantity of ammunitions, warlike equipment and arms that are in ammunition depots till now going out of date and demanding considerable service and storage costs. Thereby Russia has great need to rid itself of out-of-date military arsenal. The way of utilization that was chosen by Russia is the most odious: using against civilians of the neighboring country.
In peace time the ammunitions utilization costs several times expensive than use according to its intended purpose. For instance, Russian rocket system GRAD has total weight of one full unit of fire about 2830 kg. At shot of full unit of fire the 50 fighting attacks of 100 rocket systems can use more ammunitions than some large certificated enterprises in a year. Taking into account that Russia applies rocket system GRAD in Ukrainian cities of Donetsk and Luhansk second year, it has saved millions of US dollars.
According to international experts to the beginning of 2015 the Russian Federation has already utilized 12 million of shells in territory of Ukraine covering more than 1.5 billion Russian roubles under the Utilization Program. There’s quite good business for Russian ruling circles! But this cost Donbas more than 8000 killed and 17000 wounded men (according to United Nations), 25 % of infrastructural facilities and buildings are destroyed.
The military conflict in Ukraine incited by Russia is also used for exemption from out of day military equipment. The Kremlin has started the modernization process of Russian army. Therefore today Russia uses Donbas as utilization complex, because it demands neither considerable financial investments, nor highly skilled labour.
Together with out of date military equipment the Kremlin wishes to utilize “human material” too. On the one hand, there are criminal and other marginal elements that the Kremlin sends from the Russian Federation to Donbas and gives them incentives. On the other hand, there is too active part of people who poses threat to the ruling class by their actively civic stand. But thanks to Russian propagation they go to Donbas to champion the Russian world ideas and to struggle with the “Ukrainian fascists”.
The majority of weapons and military equipment used by the pro-Russian rebels is made in Soviet period or in the 90th of the last century. Thereby experts and witnesses tell about using standard types of small arms: Simonov self-loading carbines of 40-50th, sub-machine guns, Kalashnikov sub-machine guns, Dragunov precision rifles, Makarov guns and so on. Pro-Russian rebels are also armed with the anti-tank rocket grenades of 70-90th and with the anti-tank rocket launchers such as RPG-18 “Fly”(1972), RPG-22 Netto, RPG-26 Aglen (1985), RPG-27 Tavolga (1989), automatic grenade launchers “Flame”(1971), wire-guided anti-tank missiles 9K111 Fagot (NATO reporting name is AT-4 Spigot) and 9K115-2 Metis-M (NATO reporting name is AT-13 Saxhorn-2).
Pro-Russian artillery also includes practically all types of the Soviet arms. They widely apply the 82-mm and 120-mm mortars, the 152-mm gun-howitzers M1955 (also known as D-20), the 100-mm anti-tank cannons “Rapier”. The combat vehicle was also developed by the Soviet Union: the armoured personnel carriers such as BTR-60, BTR-70, BTR-80, infantry fighting vehicle such as BMP-1 and BMP-2, combat patrol vehicle BRDM-2, airborne armored infantry fighting vehicle BMD-1, tanks T-62, Т-64, Т-72, the 122-mm self-propelled howitzers 2S1 Gvozdika and the self-propelled mortars 2S9 NONA.
Before to be used in Donbas all this arsenal was in the ammunition depots in decades and lost its combat qualities in part. Great number of unexploded shells evidences it.