Story By: Ana Marjanovic, Sub-Editor: Michael Leidig, Agency: Newsflash
Russia has claimed that these images show multiple rocket launcher vehicles hitting Ukrainian targets.
The footage appears to show Russian soldiers deploying BM-21 ‘Grad ‘ vehicles and calibrating their targeting apparatus before they open fire.
The images apparently show one of the vehicles, sporting a ‘Z’ on its side, firing a salvo of missiles at unknown targets before moving to another location as the footage ends.
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.
In the footage, a soldier named only as Vladislav by Russian state media, says: “Our rocket artillery battery is successfully fulfilling combat missions to defeat the enemy. He does not sleep with us. Therefore, it is necessary to perform these missions at different locations.
“Accordingly, we often change our firing positions in order to prevent the defeat of our personnel and the destruction of our equipment.
“Therefore, we have to work in different conditions, day and night. We arrive, take up a firing position, determine several planned or unplanned targets, fold up and change our location. We are all accustomed to it, we are all trained. The staff is already trained. We do everything very quickly, everything is very manoeuverable.”
The Russian MoD claimed in a statement obtained on the morning of Monday, 27th June, that the images show “the combat work of the crews of ‘Grad’ multiple launch rocket systems of the Western Military District in the performance of firing missions to destroy the positions of the Armed Forces of Ukraine.”
They added: “After the strike, the crews of the MLRS leave the firing position. The reloading of the MLRS BM-21 “Grad” is carried out in the reserve area, after which they move to a new firing position to strike at newly identified targets.
We have not been able to independently verify the Russian Ministry of Defence’s (MoD) claims or the footage.
Russia invaded Ukraine on 24th February in what the Kremlin is calling a “special military operation”. Today marks the 124th day of the invasion.
The General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine reported that between 24th February and 27th June, Russia had lost about 35,000 personnel, 1,552 tanks, 3,687 armoured combat vehicles, 771 artillery units, 243 multiple launch rocket systems, 101 air defence systems, 217 warplanes, 184 helicopters, 636 drones, 137 cruise missiles, 14 warships, 2,575 motor vehicles and fuel tankers, and 60 units of special equipment.
At least 14 missiles have hit the Ukrainian capital Kyiv, according to Ukrainian offficials. The strikes come as G7 leaders meet in Bavaria, in Germany, for a three-day summit. Military support for Ukraine is at the top of the agenda. The G7 is made up of Germany, France, Italy, Japan, Canada, the United Kingdom, and the United States.
Other missiles have reportedly hit the central city of Cherkasy, as well as the strategically vital port city of Odesa.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy addressed the G7 leaders and said that he wanted the war to end before the end of the year. He repeated his request for anti-aircraft defence systems, as well as further sanctions on Russia. He also repeated his request for help to export grain from Ukraine.
Russian troops have been accused of pillaging vast quantities of grain from farmers in occupied areas of Ukraine, as well as other crops including sunflower seeds. They have also been accused of stealing fertiliser and agricultural equipment.
The eastern Ukrainian city of Sievierodonetsk is now in Russian hands after Ukrainian troops were ordered to retreat following weeks of siege.
The United Kingdom and the United States, as well as Japan and Canada, are set to ban imports of Russian gold. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said that the ban will “strike at the heart of Putin’s war machine”.
Last week, the European Union approved Ukraine’s application to become a candidate for admission to the bloc, which is currently made up of 27 countries. The decision was hailed in both Brussels and Kyiv as a “historic moment”, with President Zelenskyy saying that “Ukraine’s future is in the EU”.
Russian Foreign Ministry press secretary Maria Zakharova said that Moscow’s response to Lithuania banning the transit of goods, sanctioned by the EU, to Kaliningrad will not only be diplomatic but also practical. But Lithuanian Prime Minister Ingrida Simonyte accused Russia of lying over the blockade, saying that people are still able to travel between Russia and Kaliningrad and that the blockade only affects 1 per cent of goods.
Russia conducted an anti-ship missile exercise in the Baltic Sea amid escalating tensions with NATO member Lithuania after the country blocked the transit of some goods to the Russian exclave of Kaliningrad.