It is not easy to stay hidden in modern wars. From the sky, satellites and drones monitor any movement. And above ground, mobile phones report the location of their owners. Due to the use of their terminals, a dozen Russian generals were killed in the first two months after the start of the invasion of Ukraine. They were located by cell phone. This past Friday, near Zaporizhia, casualties fell on the other side of the front. A Russian missile killed 20 Ukrainian soldiers from the 128th Mountain Assault Brigade. Apparently, they had gathered to celebrate Artillery Forces Day. And in current wars, concentrations are prohibited, to avoid massive casualties if there is an enemy attack, and also the use of telephony, which places a digital target on each mobile phone user.
The Ukrainian Defense Ministry has opened an investigation to clarify whether there was negligence on the part of its troops. The Russian newspaper Pravda spread the news of the death of at least twenty Ukrainian soldiers, something that was later confirmed by the head of Defense of Ukraine, Rustem Umierov. In the images taken at the site of the bombing, several bodies can be seen being recovered under the rubble. Among the deceased there are, apparently, some officers.
The investigation is now trying to find out how that meeting was located by the enemy. It could have been due to the information provided by a pro-Russian collaborator in the area or due to the use of several cell phones at the same point. Both the Ukrainian and Russian armies avoid troop concentrations. But in a conflict that is already so prolonged, it is not easy to give up all types of celebration. It is also not easy to turn off personal communication devices.
The cell phone used as a weapon
The telephone was a great ally of Ukraine at the beginning of the conflict. Your telephone network is very particular. It was created from scratch after the collapse of the Soviet Union. When Russian troops began using their cell phones on Ukrainian networks, they were easily located. In this way, the location of several Russian generals was revealed, who were killed. A New York Times investigation carried out at the end of 2022 revealed that the United States had provided data on the location of Russian commanders.
During the Christmas holidays that united that year and the current one, Ukrainian bombs destroyed a building in Makiivka, in Donetsk, where there were hundreds of Russian soldiers. According to Ukrainian information sources, nearly 400 soldiers died. How did Ukrainian intelligence know where to target? They guessed the coordinates due to the large number of telephone messages that came from that place between December 31 and January 1. They were, of course, congratulatory messages. They resulted in a conviction. Four HIMARS missiles hit the building. Moscow pledged to “take measures” to avoid “such tragic events in the future.”
Telephony was then fighting against the Russian army. In another similar event, a soldier uploaded photographs to a social network of the place where his military base was located, located in a school. In the images you could see an advertising poster. With that thread, the Ukrainians located the exact point where he was. Immediately the bombs flew there.
Last Friday, however, it was Russia that caught the Ukrainian troops offside. kyiv has opened an investigation. The soldiers made a first mistake: gathering for a celebration. And perhaps they fell into another deadly mistake: using cell phones. At least 20 soldiers paid with their lives in the vicinity of Zaporizhzhia. The phone also works as a weapon.