Bellingcat.comBellingcat counted how many Russian soldiers were awarded in 2014-2015 and concluded thousands were fighting in Donbas, Bellingcat.
The new report presented by Bellingcat "the Russia’s War in Ukraine: The Medals and Treacherous Numbers" compiled information from the open sources on the number the Russian military awarded from 2014 to 2015.
The report states: "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. The large number of awarded medals “For Distinction in Combat”, 4300 awards between 07.11.2014 and 18.02.2016, strongly suggests larger combat operations with active Russian military involvement in this period."
Thus, given the data obtained, over ten thousands medals of four different types were awarded within the aforementioned period.
"Therefore, it can be directly concluded that: thousands of Russian servicemen participated in 2014 and 2015 in combat operations and were awarded with medals for their actions in these operations," the report concluded.
The full report is under the link