These images purport to show Russian self-propelled howitzers operated by mobilised troops attacking Ukrainian frontline positions.
The footage begins by showing three Russian Msta-SM2 self-propelled howitzers lined up on a snow-covered ground with a forested area in the background. They can be seen sporting the now infamous ‘Z’ symbol.
The ‘Z’ is one of the symbols, as well as the letters ‘V’ and ‘O’ that can be seen painted on Russian military vehicles taking part in the invasion of Ukraine.
The self-propelled howitzers can then be seen opening fire, reportedly on Ukrainian positions.
The footage cuts to footage of ordnance exploding, reportedly on the Ukrainian positions, before cutting back to the howitzers.
The images were obtained from the Russian Ministry of Defence (MoD) on Friday, 13th January, along with a statement claiming (in English): “Artilleryman’s sweat saves infantry’s blood: Msta-SM2 artillery systems in action
“The combat missions are carried out by military personnel who have been called up as part of the partial mobilisation.
“Artillery units of the Russian Armed Forces continue firing missions to eliminate artillery batteries of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, destroy defensive works, suppress command posts, and annihilate enemy firepower, weapons and military equipment within the special military operation.
“Russian howitzers on the frontline are a pain in the AFU’ neck. They cover the manoeuvres of their units and destroy key strongholds. Artillery crews of the Western MD conduct daily counter-battery warfare against the enemy to destroy inter alia weapons and military hardware delivered from abroad.” (sic)
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 324th day of the war.
The General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine reported that between 24th February and 13th January, Russia had lost about 114,130 personnel, 3,098 tanks, 6,167 armoured combat vehicles, 2,086 artillery units, 437 multiple launch rocket systems, 218 air defence systems, 286 warplanes, 276 helicopters, 1,865 drones, 723 cruise missiles, 17 warships, 4,833 motor vehicles and fuel tankers, and 184 units of special equipment.
Russia has claimed that its casualties have been much lower but provides infrequent updates on its latest figures.
Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky said on Thursday that his country’s soldiers fighting to defend the towns of Bakhmut and Soledar in eastern Ukraine will be provided with all the necessary equipment to counter Russia’s forces.
Hundreds of civilians are reportedly trapped in Soledar, where intense fighting is ongoing. The Ukrainian Governor of Donetsk, Pavlo Kyrylenko, said that 559 civilians, including 15 children, are currently trapped in Soledar and could not be evacuated.
Ukraine’s military has denied a claim that Russian forces have taken Soledar. Ukraine’s Deputy Defence Minister Hanna Maliar has also said that Ukrainian forces are “holding on” amid “fierce fighting”.
Ukraine’s military has claimed that it killed over 100 Russian soldiers in a single strike in Soledar.
Over a dozen senior EU officials are set to meet members of the Ukrainian government in the capital Kyiv on 2nd February ahead of a key EU-Ukraine summit, according to the European Commission.
Ukraine’s Air Force Command has warned that missile strikes on Ukraine could take place from Belarus.
Yevgeny Prigozhin, the head of Russia’s notorious Wagner mercenary group, has claimed that his forces have found the body of one of two British aid workers who had been reported missing in eastern Ukraine.
Prigozhin also claimed that his forces had found identity documents pertaining to both missing aid workers on the man’s body.
Andrey Kartapolov, the head of the Russian State Duma Defence Committee, has suggested that Moscow could increase the upper conscription age limit from 27 to 30 ahead of a draft campaign in the spring.
The Belarusian Ministry of Defence has said that Oleg Salyukov, the commander of Russia’s ground forces, visited Belarus on Thursday to inspect the combat readiness of joint Russian and Belarusian forces stationed there.
Turkey has summoned the Swedish ambassador over a Stockholm protest during which a puppet of Turkish leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan was hung from its feet. Pro-government Turkish media said the effigy was hanged by supporters of the PKK, a Kurdish militant group.
Sweden still requires Turkey’s approval to join NATO, with the Turkish government saying that Sweden needs to crack down on Kurdish groups that it views as “terrorists”.