Russia has said that it has launched a new Soyuz-2.1b rocket from its Plesetsk cosmodrome, as these images purport to show.
The footage appears to show the Russian rocket blasting off the launchpad and taking off into the sky.
The images were obtained from the Russian Ministry of Defence (MoD) on Tuesday, 29th November, along with a statement claiming: “From the State Test Cosmodrome of the Ministry of Defence of the Russian Federation in the Arkhangelsk Region, combat crews of the Space Forces of the Aerospace Forces launched a Soyuz-2.1b medium-class launch vehicle with a spacecraft in the interests of the Russian Ministry of Defence.
“The launch of the carrier rocket and the launch of the spacecraft into the calculated orbit took place in the normal mode. After launch, the Soyuz-2.1b launch vehicle was escorted by means of the ground-based automated control complex of the Main Test Space Center named after German Titov.
“At the estimated time, the spacecraft was launched into the target orbit by the upper stage ‘Fregat’ and accepted for control of ground-based facilities of the space forces of the Aerospace Forces.
“A stable telemetry connection has been established and maintained with the spacecraft. The onboard systems of the spacecraft are functioning normally. The spacecraft was assigned the serial number Kosmos-2564.
“After the spacecraft was launched into orbit, officers of the Main Space Intelligence Centre of the Space Forces of the Aerospace Forces entered information about it into the Main Catalogue of Space Objects of the Russian Space Control System and began to analyze and process information about the new space object.”
We have not been able to independently verify the claims or the footage.
Russia invaded Ukraine on 24th February in what the Kremlin is still calling a “special military operation”. Today marks the 279th day of the war.
The General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine reported that between 24th February and 29th November, Russia had lost about 88,380 personnel, 2,911 tanks, 5,866 armoured combat vehicles, 1,901 artillery units, 395 multiple launch rocket systems, 209 air defence systems, 280 warplanes, 261 helicopters, 1,555 drones, 531 cruise missiles, 16 warships, 4,423 motor vehicles and fuel tankers, and 163 units of special equipment.
Russia has claimed that its casualties have been much lower but provides infrequent updates on its latest figures.
Intense fighting is taking place around the key town of Bakhmut in eastern Ukraine, with hundreds of dead and injured reported daily on both sides.
Ukraine’s military has said that Russia has continued to shell civilian infrastructure in the liberated city of Kherson.
The General Staff of the Ukrainian Armed Forces has said that the military inventories of the United States and its allies are shrinking as the West reportedly struggles to meet increased demand for further arms.
The United States is studying a proposal from Boeing to supply Ukraine with small, cheap precision bombs that can be fitted to readily available rockets.
It is thought that this would allow Kyiv to strike far behind Russia’s lines.
Ukraine’s Armed Forces have said that they have damaged a logistically significant railway bridge north of the southern Ukrainian city of Melitopol, which is currently occupied by Russian forces.
Russia has reacted angrily to comments from the Pope that some minority groups of soldiers have behaved worse than others in the invasion of Ukraine. Pope Francis said that the “cruellest” troops were generally Chechens and Buryats.
Russia called the remarks a “perversion”, and said national groups were “one family”.
A protester wearing a T-shirt saying “Save Ukraine” on the front invaded the pitch during the World Cup football match between Portugal and Uruguay. The protester was also carrying a rainbow flag and their T-shirt said ‘Respect for Iranian woman’ on the back.