A slick Russian propaganda video has been released by the Kremlin showing a solo tank in a field apparently firing at nothing.
Newsflash obtained the footage from the Ministry of Defence (MoD) of the Russian Federation yesterday (Thursday, 5th May).
The Russian MoD describes it as: “Combat work of tank crews of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation.”
The video shows a solo tank in what looks like abandoned farmland firing shells into thin air.
No target is visible and Russia provided no information about what the tank could have been shooting at, where or when.
Russia’s MoD also released a series of apparently heavily doctored photos yesterday showing Russian artillery systems firing shells, which it captioned: “#DemilitariZation
“Calculations of ‘Malka’ self-propelled artillery installations hit the enemy positions.
‘Z’ is believed to stand for “Za pobedu” (“For victory”) and has become a pro-war symbol in Russia.
Russian troops invaded Ukraine on 24th February in what the Kremlin initially called a “special military operation” to “demilitarise and denazify” Ukraine.
The Kremlin now says the operation’s aim is to “protect Donbas”.
The 2S7M Malka is an improved variant of the 2S7 Pion – a Soviet self-propelled 203mm heavy artillery that has been in service since 1976. The Malka itself entered service in 1983.
In related news, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has said evacuations from Mariupol will continue amid Russian shelling.
There are believed to be some 200 civilians, including at least 20 children, still trapped in the besieged Azovstal iron and steel works in the strategic port city.
The invasion is now in its 72nd day.
From 24th February to 5th May, the total combat losses of Russian troops stand at around 24,700 personnel, according to the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine.
The Ukrainian military also claims that Russia has lost 1,092 tanks, 2,651 armoured fighting vehicles, 499 artillery systems, 169 multiple launch rocket systems, 83 anti-aircraft warfare systems, 196 aircraft, 155 helicopters, 1,907 motor vehicles and fuel tankers, ten boats/cutters, 312 unmanned aerial vehicles, 38 units of special units and 89 cruise missiles.
Meanwhile, a host of international organisations have banned Russia, already hit by economic sanctions, from taking part in sporting and cultural events, such as this year’s FIFA World Cup in Qatar, in response to the country’s invasion.