A Ukrainian special forces sniper reportedly killed a group of Russian soldiers.
It is unclear where exactly in Ukraine the images were filmed, but they were obtained from the Command of the Special Operations Forces (SSO) of the Armed Forces of Ukraine on Wednesday, June 29, along with a statement saying: “He waited for the enemy to gather in a heap, then struck suddenly.
“We show you a video of the real work of a sniper of the SSO of Ukraine. These unique shots were taken by our soldiers in one of the areas where the Special Operations Forces work.
“The video shows that the Russian soldiers, unaware that the next few seconds would be their last, moved freely through the unprotected area. The Russians themselves went out to meet the bullets fired in time and accurately by the SSO sniper of Ukraine.”
We contacted the Command of the SSO of the Armed Forces of Ukraine for further comment, as well as the Russian Defense Ministry, but haven’t received a reply at the time of writing.
Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24 in what the Kremlin is calling a “special military operation”. June 30 marks the 127th day of the invasion.
The General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine reported that between February 24 and June 30, Russia had lost about 35,600 personnel, 1,573 tanks, 3,726 armored combat vehicles, 790 artillery units, 246 multiple launch rocket systems, 104 air defense systems, 217 warplanes, 185 helicopters, 641 drones, 143 cruise missiles, 14 warships, 2,602 motor vehicles and fuel tankers, and 61 units of special equipment.
NATO leaders have called Russia “the most significant and direct threat to allies’ security and stability,” and announced a new “strategic concept” in response to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine. NATO is planning to boost its quick reaction forces from 40,000 troops to over 300,000 troops.
President Joe Biden announced that the United States will increase its military forces across Europe.
NATO has also formally invited Sweden and Finland to become members of the alliance. The move comes after Turkey agreed to support Finland and Sweden’s NATO membership.
Turkey had initially opposed the countries’ bids to join the military alliance, accusing both of harboring Kurdish militants.
But Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan met with Finland’s President Sauli Niinisto and Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson at the NATO summit in Madrid and the three countries reached an agreement.
Jens Stoltenberg, the NATO Secretary-General, said: “I am pleased to announce that we now have an agreement that paves the way for Finland and Sweden to join NATO.” NATO leaders have also pledged additional support to Kyiv, with the aim of modernizing Ukraine’s defense sector.
President Biden congratulated the three countries, saying: “Congratulations to Finland, Sweden, and Turkey on signing a trilateral memorandum – a crucial step towards a NATO invite to Finland and Sweden, which will strengthen our Alliance and bolster our collective security – and a great way to begin the Summit.”
But President Putin said: “If Finland and Sweden wish to, they can join. That’s up to them. They can join whatever they want.”
He added: “If military contingents and military infrastructure were deployed there, we would be obliged to respond symmetrically and raise the same threats for those territories where threats have arisen for us.”
The Russian missile strike on a shopping mall in the central Ukrainian city of Kremenchuk has been described by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy as one of the “most brazen terrorist acts in European history.” Over 1,000 people are said to have been inside the building when it was hit by missiles. Eighteen people have so far been confirmed dead.
Reacting to reports about the strike on the crowded shopping mall, Putin claimed: “Our army does not attack any civilian infrastructure site. We have every capability of knowing what is situated where.”
Russia claimed on Tuesday that it had hit a nearby weapons depot, with the explosion sparking the shopping mall blaze.
President Zelenskyy has urged the United Nations to visit the site and has demanded that Russia be expelled as a permanent member of the UN Security Council, accusing the country of having become a “terrorist state.”
Ukraine has said that it has completed the biggest prisoner exchange with Russia since the beginning of the war, with 144 of its soldiers released. They include 95 soldiers who defended the Azovstal steelworks in Mariupol.