Russia has said that its howitzers have destroyed a Ukrainian military boat that was approaching the left bank of the Dnieper River in Kherson.
The images appear to show a Russian howitzer being prepared for use before it repeatedly opens fires on unseen targets.
The images then purport to show the Ukrainian boat that the Russians say they destroyed, with what appears to be an explosion occurring in the water as the footage ends.
The images were obtained from the Russian Ministry of Defence (MoD) on Thursday, 16th February, along with a statement claiming: “Target destroyed: crews of 152-mm D-20 howitzers of the Southern Military District destroyed a boat with an enemy DRG that was approaching the left bank of the Dnieper River in the Kherson region, defended by our paratroopers and motorized riflemen.
“Two minutes before the first shot, the crews of D-20 howitzers received data from scouts: it is necessary to destroy an enemy boat with a landing party, making another unsuccessful attempt to land it.
“Artillerymen react instantly – they send three ‘gifts’ to the enemy at once. So the military calls high-explosive fragmentation projectiles that accurately hit the target. The task is completed, the boat with the troops on board is sunk.
“Fire is corrected with the help of unmanned aerial vehicles.
“Strength of mind and reliable weapons help our guys smash the enemy every day.”
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 358th day of the full-scale war.
The General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine reported that between 24th February 2022 and 16th February 2023, Russia had lost about 140,460 personnel, 3,296 tanks, 6,517 armoured combat vehicles, 2,306 artillery units, 466 multiple launch rocket systems, 239 air defence systems, 298 warplanes, 287 helicopters, 2,012 drones, 857 cruise missiles, 18 warships, 5,167 motor vehicles and fuel tankers, and 219 units of special equipment.
Russia has claimed that its casualties have been much lower but provides infrequent updates on its latest figures.
UK Defence Secretary Ben Wallace has said that 97 per cent of the Russian army is now estimated to be in Ukraine. He reportedly said Russia’s forces are suffering “First World War levels of attrition”.
Ukraine’s allies have said that they probably will not manage to supply Kyiv with the number of tanks they had previously promised to provide.
Boris Pistorius, the German Minister of Defence, said they would not even be able to form a battalion – which is typically about 50 tanks.
The announcement comes after a meeting of Western defence ministers in Brussels.
While NATO countries are increasing their production of 155 millimetres artillery rounds to help Ukraine, Jens Stoltenberg, the Secretary-General of NATO, said it is “obvious that we need to spend more”.
The International Institute of Strategic Studies (IISS) has calculated that Russia has most likely lost between 40 and 50 per cent of its tanks compared to before the invasion of Ukraine.
Ukraine, however, is thought to have increased its number of tanks thanks to the number of enemy war machines it has captured and supplies of Soviet-era tanks it has received from its allies.
Yevgeny Prigozhin, the head of the notorious Russian mercenary organisation Wagner, has confessed that his group is facing difficulties in eastern Ukraine. He said: “The number of Wagner units will decrease, and we will also not be able to carry out the scope of tasks that we would like to.”
His announcement comes amid reports that Moscow is moving to curb his political influence in the Russian capital.
Hanna Maliar, Ukraine’s Deputy Minister of Defence, has said that Russia is launching “round-the-clock” on Kyiv’s positions in eastern Ukraine. She added: “The situation is tense. Yes, it is difficult for us.”
The office of Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky has also said that the situation in Luhansk continues to be difficult.
Serhiy Haidai, Ukraine’s Governor of the Luhansk region, has said that Russia is sending mobilised troops and heavy equipment into the area but Ukrainian military forces continue to defend the frontlines.
The Russian Ministry of Defence had earlier claimed that its troops had punched through fortified Ukrainian defences in two locations in Luhansk and that Ukrainian troops had retreated, but they did not say where exactly these gains allegedly took place.
Governor Haidai said that Moscow’s claim that Ukrainian troops had retreated “does not correspond to reality”.
A British man killed in Ukraine has been named by friends and family as Jonathan Shenkin from Glasgow. The 45-year-old “died as a hero in an act of bravery as a paramedic”, his family have said.