The solider/militiaman photographed carrying a AR-15 in the Crimea has surfaced again, this time in Eastern Ukraine. Arto Pulkki at Suomen Sotilas writes …
Finally, let’s focus to a single individual – the mystery person whom has been seen in photos and videos both in Crimea (18.3.) and in eastern Ukraine (12.4.). Western sources have identified “Mr Silencer” both as Russian SpN and western or Ukrainian PMC. Same sources have identified his weapon as “new Russian sniper rifle” or “M16 or M4 from USA”.
The rifle in question is semi-automatic Z-15 (AR15-clone), as manufactured by Zbroyar in Kiev, Ukraine. It has the following modifications:
- Adams Arms gas piston conversion (US)
- Daniel Defence rail system (US)
- Magpul collapsible stock and fore grip (US)
- Hogue/RRA grip (US)
- Tactical Systems silencer (Ukraine).
The one and same weapon has been fitted with different optics in Crimea and in eastern Ukraine:
- EOTech XPS2-0 (US) w/
- Vortex VMX3 magnifier (US) in eastern Ukraine
- Zeiss 6,5-20×50 Conquest (Germany) in Crimea
That is not a rifle of a Russian SpN or hard-core operator, but of a 42-year-old avid firearms (and air gun) enthusiast and hunter from Simferopol.
I think Mr. Pulkki is correct, this person looks to be a firearms enthusiast. I do disagree with Mr. Pulkki’s assertion that the disorganized militias running around Ukraine are all airsoft players. Airsoft teams have not historically decided to switch from plastic air guns into ‘real steel’ military-style weapons and create a militia. They are about as likely to as video game players, paint ball players and probably less likely than European soccer fans.