The Kremlin has said that it is training mobilised Russians in Ukraine, as these images purport to show.
Other images obtained from the Russian authorities also purport to show mobilised personnel being trained in the Western Military District in general as well as in the Leningrad region near Saint Petersburg in particular.
The footage purports to show new recruits training to use Russian military vehicles, with images apparently showing some using a BRDM-2MS, an amphibious armoured scout car. Other images reportedly show new recruits learning how to use machine guns and rocket launchers, and how to operate in trenches.
The third piece of footage shows new recruits being given equipment and learning how to operate a drone. It then shows recruits using a military vehicle and a heavy machine gun, as well as grenades and setting up booby traps.
The images were obtained from the Russian Ministry of Defence (MoD) on Wednesday, 5th October, along with a first statement saying (in English): “Airborne Troops’ modernised BRDM-2MS armoured reconnaissance vehicles in action for training mobilised personnel in special military operation area.
“Reconnaissance units of the Airborne Troops receive modernised equipment: BRDM-2MS armoured reconnaissance vehicles.
“It differs from its predecessors in increased manoeuvrability and improved armament system with modern aiming and target designation systems that allows its operators to conduct a combat both at day- and nighttime.” (sic)
A second statement from the Russian MoD obtained on Wednesday said: “Mobilised servicemen attend training and combat cohesion in Western MD [Military District].
“Additional trainings dedicated to shooting and tactics are carried out in order to help the mobilised servicemen adapt to combat environment as soon as possible.
“The training is held in a circular system. After shooting with grenade launcher, servicemen switch to tactical training with assault rifles followed by tactical course, city assault and medical training.
“Only after the combat cohesion, the units manned by mobilised citizens and volunteers are to commence controlling and defending the liberated territories.”
And a third statement obtained from the Russian MoD, also on Wednesday, said: “Mobilised servicemen continue attending combat training in Leningrad region.
“After the arrival in a unit, servicemen are interviewed by a psychologist, appeal for documents, receive clothing, equipment and depart to the training grounds.
“Not only do servicemen gain practical experience in their professional titles, but also receive new skills. For example, reconnoitering and adjusting artillery fire using unmanned aerial vehicles.”
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 224th day of the war.
The General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine reported that between 24th February and 5th October, Russia had lost about 61,000 personnel, 2,435 tanks, 5,038 armoured combat vehicles, 1,414 artillery units, 341 multiple launch rocket systems, 177 air defence systems, 266 warplanes, 232 helicopters, 1,032 drones, 246 cruise missiles, 15 warships, 3,841 motor vehicles and fuel tankers, and 132 units of special equipment.
Russia has claimed that its casualties have been much lower but provides infrequent updates on its latest figures.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has said that Ukrainian forces have now liberated dozens of regions from Russian occupation. Ukrainian troops are now approaching the city of Kherson, with President Zelensky praising their “fast and powerful advance” on Tuesday.
President Zelensky said: “The Ukrainian army is making a rather fast and powerful advance in the south of our country in the course of the ongoing defensive operation.”
He added: “Dozens of settlements have already been liberated from the Russian pseudo-referendum this week alone.”
Christian Salazar Volkmann, Director of the Field Operations and Technical Cooperation Division of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights of the United Nations has presented a report on rights in Ukraine to the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva.
The report details “disturbing accounts” of civilian and POW rights being violated by Russian forces, adding that arbitrary detention had become “widespread” in territories under Russian control.
Ukrainian police have said that they have uncovered a “torture chamber” in the recently liberated town of Pisky-Radkivski in eastern Ukraine’s Kharkiv region. The police added that they had found a container full of extracted gold teeth, among other disturbing items.
US President Joe Biden has told President Zelensky that the United States will provide Ukraine with USD 625 million in new security assistance, including fresh high mobility Artillery rocket system (HIMARS) launchers.
President Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris have told President Zelensky that the United States “will never recognise” Russia’s annexations.
The White House also said that President Biden “affirmed the continued readiness of the United States to impose severe costs on any individual, entity, or country that provides support to Russia purported annexation.”
The head of the Russian delegation to the United Nations Disarmament Commission, Konstantin Vorontsov, said on Tuesday: “The United States continues to pump more weapons into Ukraine, facilitating the direct participation of its fighters and advisers in the conflict.
“Not only does this prolong the fighting, but it also brings the situation closer to a dangerous line of a direct military clash between Russia and NATO.”
European Union finance ministers have agreed to integrate the bloc’s support payments to Ukraine into its 2023 budget, in a bid to make them more structured.
The World Bank has estimated that Ukraine’s economy will shrink eight times faster than Russia’s this year as a result of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s invasion.
Russia’s retreat from the city of Lyman in eastern Ukraine has triggered strong criticism on Russian state television of how the war is being managed. Vladimir Solovyov, the host of a prime-time talk show on the state television channel Russia 1, who is also one of Putin’s biggest supporters, has said: “We need to pull it together, make unpopular, but necessary decisions and act.”
North Korea has recognised the results of Russia’s referendums in eastern Ukraine, making it the only member of the United Nations apart from Russia to do so.