Russia has said that it has destroyed Ukrainian positions using towed howitzers.
The images purport to show Russian soldiers using one of the towed D-30 howitzers to destroy Ukrainian positions.
The footage shows the howitzer camouflaged in a forested area before Russian soldiers can be seen loading it with ordnance and opening fire.
The images then appear to show a second howitzer opening fire before the footage cuts to an explosion, supposedly the Ukrainian positions being hit.
The howitzers can be seen being fired again before the footage cuts back to explosions, reportedly on the Ukrainian positions.
The images were obtained from the Russian Ministry of Defence (MoD) on Monday, 27th February, along with a statement claiming: “Reconnaissance units and crews of D-30 towed howitzers of the Airborne Troops perform combat missions in the area of the special military operation.
“In the course of reconnaissance and search operations, reconnaissance paratroopers discovered a platoon stronghold with Ukrainian nationalists who had settled in it. The coordinates of the enemy positions were immediately transferred to the artillery control point for their destruction.
“With well-aimed fire from closed firing positions, artillery crews of 122-mm D-30 howitzers destroyed the infantry of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, who had dug in their positions.
“From receiving the target to firing the shot, the servicemen spent no more than 2 minutes, after which the reconnaissance group of paratroopers adjusted the fire to inflict maximum fire damage on the enemy.
“During the joint combat work of scouts and gunners, about 20 servicemen of the Armed Forces of Ukraine were destroyed.”
We have not been able to independently verify the claims or the footage.
Russia invaded Ukraine on 24th February 2022 in what the Kremlin is still calling a “special military operation”. Today marks the 369th day of the full-scale war.
The General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine reported that between 24th February 2022 and 27th February 2023, Russia had lost about 148,690 personnel, 3,385 tanks, 6,621 armoured combat vehicles, 2,380 artillery units, 475 multiple launch rocket systems, 247 air defence systems, 300 warplanes, 288 helicopters, 2,048 drones, 873 cruise missiles, 18 warships, 5,248 motor vehicles and fuel tankers, and 230 units of special equipment.
Russia has claimed that its casualties have been much lower but provides infrequent updates on its latest figures.
CIA Director William Burns has said that he is “confident that the Chinese leadership is considering the provision of lethal equipment” to support Russia in Ukraine.
But he also added: “We also don’t see that a final decision has been made yet, and we don’t see evidence of actual shipments of lethal equipment.”
White House National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan has said: “Beijing will have to make its own decisions about how it proceeds, whether it provides military assistance, but if it goes down that road, it will come at real costs to China.”
US President Joe Biden has said that the idea that China could negotiate peace between Russia and Ukraine is “just not rational”.
Biden said: “I’ve seen nothing [that] would indicate there’s something that would be beneficial to anyone other than Russia. The idea that China is going to be negotiating the outcome of a war that’s a totally unjust war for Ukraine is just not rational.”
Russian President Vladimir Putin has accused the West of trying to “dismember” Russia and turn the world’s largest country into a group of weak, mini-states.
Ukraine’s military has rebuked claims by Russia’s notorious Wagner mercenary organisation that it had captured the village of Yahidne, on the outskirts of Bakhmut.
The head of Wagner, Yevgeny Prigozhin, claimed on Saturday that his forces had taken the villages of Yahidne and Berkhivka, but Ukraine said that the Russian offensives and the two settlements, as well as on for others, had been “unsuccessful”.
The Ukrainian military did however say that all were currently being targeted by heavy shelling.
Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky has dismissed a senior military commander who had been tasked with fighting Russian troops in eastern Ukraine.
Zelensky reportedly fired Eduard Moskalyov as commander of the joint forces of Ukraine without providing an explanation.
Members of Belarus’ opposition in exile have claimed that partisans destroyed a Russian plane at an airstrip near the country’s capital Minsk on Sunday.
Franak Viacorka, a close adviser to opposition politician Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, said that partisans had “confirmed a successful special operation to blow up a rare Russian plane at the airfield in Machulishchy near Minsk.”
He added: “This is the most successful diversion since the beginning of 2022.”
He also said that two Belarusians who had carried out the operation had made use of drones and had already left the country.
German Defence Minister Boris Pistorius has said that he expects contracts for the backfilling of howitzers that Germany provided Ukraine last year to be signed by the end of March, which is months earlier than originally expected.
The United States and Germany are reportedly in talks with Warsaw to hold joint military manoeuvres in Poland as a response to Russia’s threat to NATO’s eastern border, according to German Defence Minister Pistorius.