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Pro-Russian, So-Called DPR Makes Show Of Clearing City Streets Of Mines As Locals Walk Around

Members of the People’s Militia of the DPR and Russian soldiers in full bomb squad gear operated a Uran-6 demining drone

The pro-Russian, so-called Donetsk People’s Republic has made a show of clearing the city streets of mines despite footage showing apparently bemused locals walking around while the minesweepers work.

The footage allegedly shows members of the People’s Militia of the so-called Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) and Russian soldiers in full bomb squad gear operating a Uran-6 demining drone that appears to be equipped with a roller at the front, designed to safely detonate mines.

The DPR claimed in a statement that its forces were patrolling the streets of its “capital”, the city of Donetsk in eastern Ukraine’s Donetsk region, to detect and neutralize mines.

It also claimed that these alleged mines – none of which can be seen being detonated in the footage it released – were scattered in the city by Ukrainian forces, which it labels “Nazis”.

Some khaki-colored objects that appear to be mines can be seen at one point on a pavement in the footage. The demining drone can then be seen entering being observed by civilians going about their lives before it enters what appears to be a park.

The DPR claimed in its statement, obtained on Sunday, July 31, that “sapper groups of the Ministry of Emergency Situations of the DPR, together with the engineering troops of Russia, are clearing the central part of the city from PFM-1 ‘Lepestoks’, which were fired at the city from cluster munitions.”

The PFM-1 is a scatterable anti-personnel land mine designed by the Soviets and produced by Russia. Both the Ukrainians and the Russians have accused each other of using these mines since the beginning of the Russian invasion. They are also known as Butterfly Mines or Green Parrots.

Sappers in armored suits holds special demining equipment in Donetsk, Ukraine, Sunday, July 31, 2022. Sapper groups of the Ministry of Emergency Situations of the DPR, together with the engineering troops of Russia, demined the central part of the city.  (@nm_dnr/Zenger)

The mines can be deployed from helicopters, planes and mortars. They then gently glide down to the ground without exploding.

The Russian state news agency TASS had claimed on Thursday, July 28, that ambulance workers had found PMF-1 mines after an attack by Ukrainian forces.

The DPR also claimed in the statement: “The Ukrainian Nazis inflicted the most inhumane terrorist attack on the peaceful quarters of the city, at the moment, work on the elimination of mines continues. We ask residents to be extremely careful!”

The DPR claimed that the machine being used to find mines allegedly deployed by Ukraine is a Uran-6, which is a Russian land drone used in demining operations.

We have not been able to independently verify the claims or the footage.

Zenger News contacted the DPR for further comment, as well as the Ukrainian and Russian Ministries of Defense, but had not received a reply at the time of writing.

Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24 in what the Kremlin is calling a “special military operation”. Monday marks the 159th day of the invasion.

The General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine reported that between February 24 and August 1, Russia had lost about 41,030 personnel, 1,768 tanks, 4,011 armored combat vehicles, 932 artillery units, 259 multiple launch rocket systems, 117 air defense systems, 223 warplanes, 190 helicopters, 736 drones, 174 cruise missiles, 15 warships, 2,912 motor vehicles and fuel tankers, and 82 units of special equipment.

Picture shows robotic complex Uran-6 in Donetsk, Ukraine, Sunday, July 31, 2022. Sapper groups of the Ministry of Emergency Situations of the DPR, together with the engineering troops of Russia, demined the central part of the city. (@nm_dnr/Zenger)

Russia has claimed that its casualties have been much lower, but provides infrequent updates on its latest figures.

Vadym Skibitsky, Ukraine’s deputy head of military intelligence, has said that Russia is moving large numbers of soldiers to the south of the country in a bid to take up defensive positions ahead of an expected Ukrainian counteroffensive to retake territory occupied by Russian forces since the beginning of the invasion.

Skibitsky said: “They are increasing their troop numbers, preparing for our counteroffensive [in southern Ukraine] and perhaps preparing to launch an offensive of their own.”

Ukraine’s Ministry for Reintegration of the Temporary Occupied Territories has urged hundreds of thousands of civilians to evacuate frontline areas of the eastern Ukrainian region of Donetsk.

The ministry said: “They need to be evacuated, you cannot put them in mortal danger in the winter without heating, light, without the ability to keep them warm.”

The southern Ukrainian port city of Mykolaiv was hit by Russian strikes early on Sunday morning in what Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky has described as “probably the most brutal” attack on the city since the beginning of the war.

Mykolaiv Mayor Oleksandr Senkevych also said that the missile strikes were probably the heaviest Russian bombardments of the city so far.

Soldier holds demining device in Donetsk, Ukraine, Sunday, July 31, 2022. Sapper groups of the Ministry of Emergency Situations of the DPR, together with the engineering troops of Russia, demined the central part of the city.(@nm_dnr/Zenger)

One of the richest men in Ukraine, Oleksiy Vadatursky, 74, along with his wife Raisa, were killed when a missile hit their home in Mykolaiv. Vadatursky, who had received the “Hero of Ukraine” award, owned Nibulon, a company that is involved in exporting grain and was reportedly worth $450 million in 2020, according to Forbes.

The first ship carrying grain has left the Ukrainian port of Odesa as part of a landmark deal between Ukraine and Russia and overseen by Turkey and the United Nations.

The Joint Coordination Center (JCC) in Istanbul, which was established as part of the deal, said the ship was carrying approximately 26,000 tons of corn and is expected to arrive in Turkish waters on Tuesday for inspection.

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