A 24-year-old Russian soldier, Alexander Sotkin, is posting selfies to Instagram like he’s Miley Cyrus. (Look at that Sotkin tongue action!) The sign of the horns hand gesture he’s making, with the back of the hand facing outwards, means well off or rich in Russia. But the funny faces and boasts aren’t why Sotkin’s Instagram account is in the news: his posts reveal his locations–which happen to indicate that he’s been “operating military equipment inside Ukraine,” according to Buzzfeed.
Moscow has denied having troops inside eastern Ukraine and has been trying to hide its overt support of pro-Russian separatists there. All that effort spent on maintaining Russian military security secrets and protocol seems to have been upended by the vanity of a single soldier with one of the most powerful weapons in the 21st century: a smartphone. Paul Szoldra of Business Insider points out: “it just seems strange Russian military involvement in the region could be revealed in such a way.”