The energy crisis, that arose in the Crimea after the attampted annexation, forced the aggressor State to look for “emergency ways to restore power supply,” one of which was the transfer of mobile gas turbine power plants (hereinafter referred to as MGTPP) from Russia to Crimea. The efficiency of modern mobile gas turbine units is high and starts from 35 %, they consume a small amount of lubricating oils and are easy to maintain. In addition to all its advantages, MGTPPs can supply large volumes of cheap thermal energy to heating systems. But they also have disadvantages, this is the doubled cost of the electricity generated by them, harm to the environment and public health. In the Crimea, Russian invaders used the possibility of using the MGTPP as a cover for further militaristic plans. Associate Professor Andrii Chvalyuk will tell you more about the dual purpose of the “Crimean” MGTPP.

MGTPPs can consume the following types of fuel: diesel, kerosene, natural gas and associated petroleum gas [1]. Such a wide range of energy carriers allows MGTPP, in case of emergency, to use the fuel reserves of nearby “state” enterprises and organizations. The same scheme works in the opposite direction – other fuel consumers can use the vast reserves that, for example, the fuel facilities of “Simferopolskaya” MGTPP, controlled by Moscow-registered Joint-Stock Company “Mobilnye gazoturbinnye elektricheskiye stantzii” (“Mobile Gas Turbine Power Plants”, “Mobilnye GTES”), stores in their warehouses. These warehouses are quite extensive; the invaders have already spent more than 247 million rubles on their construction and subsequent equipment.

In 2016, “Mobilnye GTES” paid 70 million rubles for “performing design and survey work, construction, installation and commissioning work on the arrangement of platforms for placing fuel steel horizontal tanks and fuel storage containers” [2]. Also, 41 million rubles were spent in the Crimea on “construction work on the arrangement of sites for the placement of fuel steel horizontal tanks and fuel storage containers” [3] and 85.5 million rubles on the installation and commissioning of these fuel tanks [4]. Subsequently, additional “soft fuel tanks” with a volume of 75 cubic meters each were purchased for 17.7 million rubles [5] and “tank semi-trailers for the transportation of light oil products of the 3rd hazard class”, for 33.2 million rubles [6].

According to the so-called  “press service of the head of the “Republic of Crimea”, fuel supplies for the operation of the MGTPP are carried out from Russia, “fuel is delivered by tankers and distributed by rail across the Crimea” [7]. However, the purchased tank semi-trailers and vehicles for their transportation indicate that this fuel can be quickly transferred from one point to another, not limited to the railway lines available in Crimea. Soft fuel tanks can also be transferred there. Thus, the fuel depots of the “Mobilnye GTES” scattered across the occupied Crimea can themselves be a strategic fuel reserve and, if necessary, to serve as a transshipment base.

According to the “tender documentation” “Mobilnye GTES” repeatedly paid for “services for transshipment, accumulation and storage of EURO diesel fuel (GOST 32511-2013)” in Sevastopol [8] and Feodosia [9]. With this information, it would be logical to assume that the Crimea-located MGTPPs operate on diesel fuel and store it in their warehouses. The interest of the Russian occupiers in the dissemination of just such information is obvious, however, in the process of “cutting” budget funds for “implementing measures for the anti-terrorist protection of facilities in Crimea”, they made a critical reservation indicating the true purpose of the fuel depots. So-called “Commission for classifying potentially hazardous facilities located on the territory of the Republic of Crimea to hazard classes”, in its “protocol” No. 4 dated July 19, 2019, indicated that the fuel facility of “Simferopolskaya” MGTPP operated by “Mobilnye GTES”, located at Simferopol district, Denisovka village, Energetikov street, 4, and stores more than 200 tons of jet fuel and diesel fuel in its warehouse [10].

Usually, the phrase “jet fuel” refers to kerosene fractions. Recall that MGTPP can indeed run on kerosene. It is also well known who else consumes kerosene, but already as their main fuel, these are jet aircraft. For example, the very ones that are deployed by the Russian occupiers at the Belbek dual-use airfield. This airport, located 8 kilometers from Sevastopol, became “the location of the 38th Fighter Aviation Regiment as part of the 27th Mixed Aviation Division of the 4th Army” of the Russian Air Force and Air Defense. In November 2014, 16 “Su-30” and “Su-27SM2” ​​fighters were transferred there from the Krasnodar Territory. Now about 30 combat aircraft of the aggressor are located at the airfield, these are “Su-27SM”, “Su-30M2”, “Su-27P” and “2Su-27UB”. Belbek’s material property is now “on the balance sheet” of the Russian Ministry of Defense, and it was the aggressor’s military department that retained “priority in the use of airspace and in resolving security issues” [11].

The “Su-27” fighter is equipped with four fuel tanks with a total capacity of 12,000 liters. The maximum flight range on a full charge is 3,250 kilometers [12]. 200 tons of jet fuel stored in warehouses in Denisovka, and in terms of liters – this is 250 thousands liters of kerosene, will be enough to fully refuel more than 20 fighters or to partially refuel the entire “38th Fighter Aviation Regiment” of the invaders [13]. And this is only one warehouse of MGTPP “Simferopolskaya”. The two remaining “Sevastopolskaya” MGTPP located directly near Belbek and the “Zapadno-Krymskaya” (“West-Crimean”) MGTPP have their own fuel depots. The Russian occupiers hide fresh data, however, the reports of “Rosseti” on preparations for the passage of the autumn-winter period of 2017/2018 show that in September 2017, the MGTPP sites had the following fuel supply: “Sevastopolskaya” – 177 tons; “Simferopolskaya” – 271 tons; “Zapadno-Krymskaya” MGTPP – 289 tons [14].

The location of the sites under the MGTPP was also chosen by the Russian invaders not by chance, and long-term militaristic plans are clearly traced in it. One of the “tenders” of the “Mobilnye GTES” suggests exactly where the invaders brought building materials for future sites under the MGTPP. The site for accommodation “Sevastopolskaya” is located in Sevastopol’s Shturmovoe village, for “Simferopolskaya” – in the aforementioned Denisovka village of Simferopolsky District, and “Zapadno-Krymskaya” – allegedly in the village of Sizovka of Saksky District [15]. However, the address in Syzovka is fake, because, judging by satellite images, there is nothing in Syzovka itself and its environs that resembles six compactly installed MGTPPs. But in the so called “list of real estate objects, the right holder of which is the Republic of Crimea”, there is a land plot of 40,000 square meters reserved for the “needs of the energy sector”. The “list” specifies that this site is located “2.5 kilometers east of the village of Kar’erne, Sizovsky Village Council of the Saksky District, near the substation 330/110 kV Zapadno-Krymskaya” [16]. Satellite images show that 6 MGTPP units are indeed located near the village of Kar’erne, and not in Sizovka itself [17].

The reason why the occupiers hide the MGTPP site’s true location may be due to the military status of the site. Before the Russian occupation started, Ukrainain military units A2157 and A4290 were located in the village of Kar’erne, guarding the 257th and 258th combined fuel and ammunition depots for the Ukrainian Navy. The official address of the specified military unit was in Novoozernoye, but the warehouses themselves were located in Kar’erne and in neighboring Naumovka [18].

In fact, it was a key fuel depot for the Ukrainian Navy. Satellite images prove that the buildings of the military units retained their functionality under the conditions of occupation and even got new roofs. Most likely, the occupiers also retained the “intended purpose of the units” as guarding the fuel and other warehouses. A service railway line leads from Kar’erne to Saki, which can be used both for replenishing fuel supplies and for its subsequent shipment to other areas of the occupied peninsula, in particular, for the needs of the Russia’s Black Sea Fleet aviation located in Novofedorovka, Saksky District.

The site of the MGTPP “Simferopolskaya” in the Denisovka village was also not built by chance. Near Denisovka, in the Perevalne settlement, a key military unit of the Russian invaders is deployed – the “126th Marine Brigade”, which is part of the “22nd Shock Corps”. As our Association previously reported [19], the “126th Brigade” is the main ground strike component of that “Corps” and, accordingly, the main element of the Russian Army’s occupation contingent in the Crimea. The placement of additional diesel fuel depots, at a distance of 16.5 kilometers from Perevalne, allows you to quickly, within an hour, refuel all the armored vehicles of the “126th Brigade”.

The fuel depots created by the Russian invaders under the guise of reserves for the MGTPP not only function, but are also replenished in a timely manner. On September 23, 2021, the Russia’s Government Commission for Ensuring the Security of Electricity Supply at its offsite meeting “On the preparation of electric power industry entities and housing and communal services of the Southern Federal District for the heating season 2021-2022” indicated to “Mobilnye GTES” “the need to increase fuel reserves in the Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol” [20]. We doubt that this instruction is dictated by the occupants’ concern for heat and electricity supply to the residents of the occupied peninsula. Most likely, the aggressor State’s government was worried about creating a strategic fuel reserve: kerosene for its new fighters, deployed to the Crimea, as well as diesel for Russian Army’s armored vehicles.

As previously, with reference to the Russia’s Ministry of Defense, the media, controlled by the occupiers reported that the aggressor would deploy “Su-35S” in Sevastopol, allegedly capable of fighting fifth-generation aircraft, and that “a fundamental decision to deploy the Su-35S in Crimea has already been made,” since “the replacement of old types of aircraft is carried out as part of the re-equipment with new types of equipment”. According to military expert Dmitry Boltenkov, the planes will most likely be handed over to the “38th Fighter Aviation Regiment of the 4th Command”, which, as we already know, is located at the Belbek airfield [21]. The airport is located 2.5 kilometers from the transport interchange “Simferopol – Sevastopol / Yalta – “Belbek” Airport”. And from there, the Sevastopol bypass road ‘67K-2’ will lead you directly to the Shturmove village’s outskirts, where the “Sevastopolskaya” MGTPP fuel depot is located.

Of course, we do not have documentary evidence of the military tasks of the MGTPP, but, be that as it may, we should not discount either the location of the new fuel depots or the trend towards an increase in their reserves. After all, in fact, a “peaceful” kerosene warehouse for a mobile gas turbine plant can change its destination with one call and turn into a strategic fuel supply for jet fighters. Otherwise, why the sites for MGTPP, even at the construction stage, were equipped with backup communication channels [22]. Therefore, we will take the Russian occupants’ reservation about fuel for jet engines as a warning that reserve fuel depots for combat aircraft have been deployed on the territory of the occupied Crimea. The instruction of the Russian government to increase their fuel reserves in the Crimea should also not pass by the experts, interested in this.

Sources:

1. https://manbw.ru/analitycs/mobile.html

2. https://rostender.info/tender/25061077

3. https://rostender.info/tender/25604283

4. https://rostender.info/tender/25603953

5. https://rostender.info/region/krym-respublika/simferopol/25254668-tender-postavka-myagkih-rezervuarov-topliva-obemom-75m3-dlya-nujd-oao-mobilnye-gtes

6. https://rostender.info/region/krym-respublika/24216503-tender-postavka-polupricepov-cistern-dlya-perevozki-svetlyh-nefteproduktov-3-klassa-opasnosti

7. https://ria.ru/20160101/1352835545.html

8. https://rostender.info/region/sevastopol-gorod/25884070-tender-uslugi-po-perevalke-nakopleniyu-i-hraneniyu-dizelnogo-topliva-evro-gost-r-52368-2005-v-g-sevastopol-dlya-nujd-mobilnyh-gtes-raspolojennyh

9. https://rostender.info/region/krym-respublika/feodosiya/25253742-tender-uslugi-po-perevalke-nakopleniyu-i-hraneniyu-dizelnogo-topliva-evro-gost-32511-2013-v-g-feodosiya-dlya-nujd-mobilnyh-gtes

10. https://mchs.rk.gov.ru/uploads/txteditor/mchs/attachments/d4/1d/8c/d98f00b204e9800998ecf8427e/phpvf9ioM_2.pdf

11. https://russian.rt.com/russia/article/576168-belbek-baza-stroitelstvo

12. https://structure.mil.ru/structure/forces/air/weapons/aviation/[email protected]

13. https://www.center-pss.ru/math/litrivkg/kerosin.htm

14. https://minenergo.gov.ru/system/download/7822/75843

15. https://rostender.info/tender/26373803

16. https://rk.gov.ru/uploads/txteditor/main/attachments//d4/1d/8c/d98f00b204e9800998ecf8427e/phpCFrukB_rk9820.xls

17. https://www.google.com/maps/place/%D0%9A%D0%B0%D1%80%D1%8C%D0%B5%D1%80%D0%BD%D0%BE%D0%B5/@45.2899438,33.6527777,441m/data=!3m1!1e3!4m5!3m4!1s0x40ea9ce07ca99da3:0xec77f4cfe2f89b92!8m2!3d45.2865718!4d33.6069163

18. https://myrotvorets.center/criminal/belov-valerij-nikolaevich/

19. https://arc.construction/25461?lang=uk

20. https://minenergo.gov.ru

21. https://iz.ru/889116/aleksei-ramm-bogdan-stepovoi/sukhie-krymskie-poluostrov-zashchitiat-noveishie-istrebiteli

22. https://rostender.info/region/krym-respublika/23955836-tender-predostavlenie-uslug-svyazi-rezervnye-kanaly-na-ploshchadkah-razmeshcheniya-mobilnyh-gtes-v-krymskom-federalnom-okruge