Bellingcat experts issued a report strongly suggesting that more that 10 thousand Russian troopers participated in Donbas fighting. Estimation of the number of involved Russian servicemen is based on open source data, which were collected and processed with the help of InformNapalm among others.
They analysed and "identified Russian servicemen who published the images of their awarded medals online. This imagery is valuable because most of the higher Russian medals have a consecutive numbering, explicitly stating the number of medals awarded so far.
It is possible to demonstrate that the number of awarded medals, compared to the years before 2014, suddenly and strongly increased in 2014 and 2015. " "
Thus expert-journalist group "Bellingcat concluded "that thousands of Russian servicemen participated in 2014 and 2015 in combat operations and were awarded with medals for combat, ten thousand Russian servicemen participated or otherwise contributed to the fighting in eastern Ukraine.
In sum, the findings of this report support the claims that thousands of Russian servicemen were actively participating in fights in eastern Ukraine.