Story By: Ana Marjanovic, Sub-Editor: Michael Leidig, Agency: Newsflash
These images purport to show the pro-Russian DPR firing salvos from multiple rocket launcher vehicles at Ukrainian positions.
The footage begins by showing a helicopter crossing the sky before cutting to what appear to be two BM-21 Grad multiple rocket launcher vehicles.
One of the vehicles can be seen flying what appears to be a pirate skull and crossbones flag while the other appears to fly the Russian flag, with the Russian coat of arms on it. Both vehicles have a white ‘Z’ daubed on their side.
A soldier can be seen speaking into a walkie-talkie, with the vehicles in the background, before they suddenly start firing their missiles at unseen targets.
The footage was obtained from the People’s Militia of the pro-Russian, so-called Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR), on the morning of Wednesday, 22nd June, along with a statement saying that the images show “artillerymen of the 9th regiment of the [People’s Militia of the] DPR striking at the positions of Ukrainian nationalists”.
A spokesman for the DPR said: “The artillery unit of the 9th Regiment of the People’s Militia of the DPR will inflict fire damage on military concentrations of enemy manpower.”
A DPR officer also said: “We will suppress the firing points from where artillery shelling of Donetsk, Makeevka, Yasinovataya is carried out.
“Now our drone is flying there, we will identify the target. There are a lot of them there, we try to destroy their crews as much as possible, we work with counter-battery combat.
“Basically we have to lie in the field, because you are under fire, you need to have high endurance and strong nerves.
“I would like to say Dear Vladimir Vladimirovich (Putin), you and I know that in difficult times we have remained faithful to Russia.”
An official statement from the DPR issued on the morning of Wednesday, 22nd June, reads: “Over the past 24 hours, according to information from the DPR JCCC [Joint Centre for Control and Coordination of the Ceasefire Regime], the enemy fired more than 400 shells from Uragan and BM-21 Grad multiple launch rocket systems, as well as from 155-, 152- and 122-mm cannon artillery, as well as 120-mm mortars.
“The ordnance was fired at the districts of 13 settlements of the Republic. As a result of the shelling, one civilian was killed and 13 were injured, of which 3 were children. Twenty-nine residential buildings, seven civilian infrastructure facilities and one vehicle were damaged.
“Information about injured civilians and damage to infrastructure is being determined. The joint actions of the military personnel of the Donetsk People’s Republic and the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation destroyed the following enemy weapons and military equipment: one BM-21 Grad MLRS, one M-777 howitzer, two trucks and more than 30 personnel. Two enemy firing points were suppressed in the areas of the settlements of Avdiivka and Kurdyumovka.”
Russia invaded Ukraine on 24th February in what the Kremlin is calling a “special military operation”. Today marks the 119th day of the invasion.
The General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine reported that between 24th February and 22nd June, Russia had lost about 34,230 personnel, 1,496 tanks, 3,614 armoured combat vehicles, 752 artillery units, 239 multiple launch rocket systems, 99 air defence systems, 216 warplanes, 182 helicopters, 614 drones, 137 cruise missiles, 14 warships, 2,543 motor vehicles and fuel tankers, and 60 units of special equipment.
Russia has conducted an anti-ship missile exercise in the Baltic Sea amid escalating tensions with NATO member Lithuania after the country blocked the transit of goods to the Russian exclave of Kaliningrad.
Ukrainian forces have said that they have been successfully thwarting fresh Russian attempts to advance in the Kharkiv region of north-eastern Ukraine.
And Iryna Vereshchuk, Ukraine’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Reintegration of the Temporarily Occupied Territories, has urged locals in the Kherson region to evacuate the area so as to help Ukrainian forces “deoccupy” the area.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy visited Ukraine’s southern frontline as Ukrainian forces mount a counter attack in the region to push back Russian troops.
The new head of the British Army, Gen Sir Patrick Sanders, has told British forces that they need to be ready to face Russia on the battlefield and said the British Army now needs to be capable of defeating Russia.
United States President Joe Biden has promised Kyiv another USD 1 billion in security assistance and weapons. And US General Mark Milley says Russia has lost around 20 to 30 per cent of its armoured force during the ongoing invasion.
President Zelenskyy said that a “historic week” has begun as Kyiv awaits a decision from Brussels regarding its EU candidate status.
Zelenskyy, speaking to the African Union on Monday, 20th June, also accused Russia of holding Africa “hostage” over grain and fertiliser shortages.
French President Emmanuel Macron, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi held talks in the Ukrainian capital Kyiv with President Zelenskyy on 16th June.
Former Russian president and staunch Vladimir Putin ally Dmitry Medvedev has derided French, German and Italian leaders visiting the Ukrainian capital Kyiv as “fans of frogs, liverwurst and spaghetti”.
The European Parliament adopted a resolution recommending that the European Union grant Ukraine the status of candidate country for EU membership. Some 438 MEPs voted in favour of the resolution, with 65 voting against and 94 abstaining.
Independent Russian journalist Dmitry Muratov has auctioned off his Nobel Peace Prize medal for USD 103.5 million, with all the proceeds going to help Ukrainian refugees.
Muratov, 60, is the editor-in-chief of Russian independent newspaper Novaya Gazeta, which has been a vocal advocate for the freedom of the press and of independence from state influence.