The Russian Ministry of Defense (MoD) has released these images allegedly showing how its Grad multiple launch rocket systems (MLRS) are unleashing salvos of ordnance on unseen Ukrainian positions before hastily changing location in a bid to avoid being hit by return fire.
The images were obtained from the Russian MoD on the morning of Thursday, July 7, along with a short statement claiming that the images show “Grad MLRS of the Western Military District while carrying out fire missions to destroy AFU [Armed Forces of Ukraine] positions.”
The BM-21 Grad was first designed in the 1960s in the Soviet Union.
The Russian MoD also claimed in a statement (in English): “In total, 234 Ukrainian airplanes and 137 helicopters, 1,479 unmanned aerial vehicles, 353 anti-aircraft missile systems, 3,935 tanks and other armored combat vehicles, 724 multiple launch rocket systems, 3,102 field artillery and mortars, as well as 4,064 units of special military vehicles were destroyed during the operation.”
We have not been able to independently verify the claims or the footage.
Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24 in what the Kremlin is still calling a “special military operation.” July 7 marks the 134th day of the invasion.
The General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine reported that between February 24 and July 7, Russia had lost about 36,650 personnel, 1,602 tanks, 3,797 armored combat vehicles, 815 artillery units, 247 multiple launch rocket systems, 107 air defense systems, 217 warplanes, 187 helicopters, 667 drones, 155 cruise missiles, 15 warships, 2,665 motor vehicles and fuel tankers, and 66 units of special equipment.
Russian forces are intensifying their attacks in the Donetsk region of eastern Ukraine. Civilians are fleeing Sloviansk as Russian forces push towards the city. This comes after the Donetsk regional governor, Pavlo Kyrylenko, urged 350,000 civilians to evacuate the area.
British intelligence has claimed that the battle for Sloviansk will probably be the next key target for Russian forces.
The UK Ministry of Defense stated that Russian forces “from the Eastern and Western Groups of Forces are likely now around 16 kilometers [10 miles] north from the town of Sloviansk. With the town also under threat from the Central and Southern Groups of Forces, there is a realistic possibility that the battle for Sloviansk will be the next key contest in the struggle for the Donbas.”
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy claimed that heavy weapons from Ukraine’s western allies have finally started working at “full capacity” on the frontlines, with Ukraine’s General Staff denying Russian claims that two U.S.-supplied HIMARS light multiple rocket launchers had been destroyed. They instead said that the weapons were being used to inflict “devastating blows” on the invading forces.
Luhansk’s regional governor Serhiy Haidai has accused Russian President Vladimir Putin of carrying out a scorched earth policy, “burning down and destroying everything on their way” as resistance remains strong in villages around the city of Lysychansk, which recently fell to Russian forces.
The Russian parliament is rushing through two new bills to impose strict controls on the country’s economy and require that businesses supply the armed forces.
The United Nations has said that nearly 9 million people have now left Ukraine since the beginning of Russia’s invasion. Ukraine’s Prosecutor General Iryna Venediktova has said that the country is investigating over 21,000 Russian war crimes committed since the beginning of the invasion.
A court in Russia has ordered the suspension of Kazakh oil exports to the West for a month. Russia controls the Novorossiisk Black Sea oil terminal where tankers are loaded with oil that transits, via a pipeline, from Kazakhstan’s Tengiz oilfield. Western sanctions have restricted Russia’s oil and gas exports, increasing demand for producers like Kazakhstan.
But the President of Kazakhstan, Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, has refused to recognize the pro-Russian, so-called People’s Republic of Donetsk and the People’s Republic of Luhansk, in eastern Ukraine, and has also said that Kazakhstan might increase its oil exports to the European Union. The member nations of NATO and other Western countries have also refrained from recognizing the independence of the breakaway Ukrainian regions.