These images reportedly show Russia launching a new military rocket into space today.
The footage reportedly shows the Soyuz military rocket blasting off from the Plesetsk Cosmodrome, about 800 kilometres (500 miles) north of the Russian capital Moscow, on Thursday, 23rd March.
The images show the spacecraft lifting off from its launchpad and shooting into the sky.
The images were obtained from the Russian Ministry of Defence (MoD) on Thursday, 23rd March, along with a statement claiming: “The Aerospace Forces launched a Soyuz-2.1a launch vehicle from the Plesetsk Cosmodrome.”
The Russian MoD added: “Today at 9:40am, from the State Test Cosmodrome of the Ministry of Defence of the Russian Federation (Plesetsk Cosmodrome) in the Arkhangelsk Region, combat crews of the Aerospace Forces Space Forces launched a Soyuz-2.1a medium-class launch vehicle with a spacecraft (SC) 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 normal conditions mode. After launch, the Soyuz-2.1a launch vehicle was controlled by means of the ground-based automated control complex of the Main Test Space Centre named after G.S. Titov.
“At the estimated time, the spacecraft was launched into the target orbit and accepted for control of the ground facilities of the space forces of the Aerospace Forces.
“A stable telemetry connection has been established and maintained with the spacecraft, and its onboard systems are operating normally. The spacecraft was assigned the serial number Kosmos-2567.
“After launching the device into orbit, officers of the Main Centre for Space Intelligence of the Space Forces of the Aerospace Forces entered information about it into the Main Catalog of Space Objects of the Russian Space Control System and began to analyse and process information about the new object.”
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 393rd day of the full-scale war.
The General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine reported that between 24th February 2022 and 23rd March 2023, Russia had lost about 168,150 personnel, 3,570 tanks, 6,898 armoured combat vehicles, 2,608 artillery units, 511 multiple launch rocket systems, 273 air defence systems, 305 warplanes, 290 helicopters, 2,203 drones, 909 cruise missiles, 18 warships, 5,452 motor vehicles and fuel tankers, and 273 units of special equipment.
Russia has claimed that its casualties have been much lower but provides infrequent updates on its latest figures.
At least eight people were killed last night (Wednesday Thursday) after a Russian drone attack hit Rzhyshchiv, near the Ukrainian capital Kyiv, according to regional police chief Andrii Nebytov.
The strike reportedly hit a school and a dormitory building, with one of the people declared dead being “an ambulance driver who came to the call”.
Antony Blinken, the US Secretary of State, has said that China is watching “very carefully” to see how the West handles Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
He said that if Russia is allowed to attack Ukraine with impunity, this would create a “Pandora’s box” situation and lead to “a world of conflict”.
NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg has cautioned that the West needs to prepare to supply weaponry to Ukraine for the long haul.
Sergei Lavrov, Russia’s Foreign Minister, has said that Russia will not leave the UK’s plan to supply Ukraine with depleted uranium tank shells “unanswered”.
Lavrov said: “This decision will not remain without serious consequences both for Russian-British bilateral relations and at the international level.”
But James Cleverly, the UK Foreign Secretary, has said that providing Ukraine with depleted uranium shells does not constitute a “nuclear escalation”. He said: “They are not nuclear munitions. They are purely conventional munitions.”
Cleverly’s statement comes a day after Russian President Vladimir Putin accused the West of “beginning to use weapons with a nuclear component”.
Sweden’s parliament has formally approved a bill to allow it to join NATO.