These images purport to show forces of the pro-Russia so-called Donetsk People’s Republic (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 DPR on the morning of Wednesday, June 22, 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, June 22, reads: “Over the past 24 hours, according to information from the DPR JCCC [Joint Center 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.”
We contacted Russian and Ukrainian officials for comment but had not received a reply at the time of writing.
Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24 in what the Kremlin is still calling a “special military operation.” June 22 marks the 119th day of the invasion.
The General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine reported that between February 24 and June 22, Russia had lost about 34,230 personnel, 1,496 tanks, 3,614 armored combat vehicles, 752 artillery units, 239 multiple launch rocket systems, 99 air defense 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.
This week, Russia conducted an anti-ship missile exercise in the Baltic Sea amid escalating tensions with NATO member Lithuania after the latter 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 “de-occupy” the area.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy visited Ukraine’s southern frontline as Ukrainian forces mount a counterattack in the region to push back Russian troops.
The new head of the British Army, General 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 one billion dollars in security assistance and weapons. And General Mark Milley says Russia has lost around 20 to 30 percent of its armored 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, June 20, also accused Russia of holding Africa “hostage” over grain and fertilizer 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 June 16.
Former Russian president and staunch Vladimir Putin ally Dmitry Medvedev has since derided the 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. On June 8, 438 Members of the European Parliament voted in favor 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.