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Selfie-addicted Russian soldier caught in Ukrainian territory by Instagram geo-tagging


By John McCarthy, Opinion editor

July 31, 2014 | 3 min read

The Instagram account of a Russian solider may have landed under-pressure Vladimir Putin in hot water after the app's photomap placed 24-year-old Sanya Sotkin's selfies in rebel-held Ukrainian territory.

Sotkin has posted over 500 images on the account

The selfie-addicted solider's Instagram may be vital in proving Russia's involvement in the Ukrainian civil war after images show the active-duty Sotkin operating in the disputed territory.

This is despite Moscow denying any involvement in the conflict which saw Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 tragically shot down, killing 298 people on board.

The Instagram photomap shows the Russian, near the Ukrainian towns of Kranaya Talovka and Krasnyi Derkul, in images taken earlier this month.

One selfie posted on 5 July, shows Sotkin in rebel controlled territory near the town of Krasny Derkul.

Ukrainian armed forces have engaged in day-long break in its campaign to reclaim the east of the country as investigators probe try to establish a safe-zone around flight MH17's crash site.

The 24-year-old soldier has claimed to be a Russian communications expert on Instagram. On July 7, he said" ‘I still don’t understand what we’re doing here, so we’re continuing to go slightly crazy, listen to #swedishhousemafia and wait for new news from Ukraine!’

On the engineer's profile, there is an extensive diary of the soldier's training, each easily traceable through the Instagram service. However, Russian forces will likely clamp down on such communications which US forces will be using to collect intelligence.

One commenter even congratulated the Russian on his new-found fame in the western media - although his superiors are unlikely to be as positive.

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