By Lee Bullen
This is the moment Russian troops fire mortar rounds at Ukrainian targets.
The Russian Ministry of Defence (MoD) said on May 16: “Demilitarization. The combat work of mortar crews of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation.”
The MoD said the mortar attack was carried out following reconnaissance work by an intelligence team using drones.
The 120-mm caliber ammunition can be fired at enemy targets over 7,000 meters away.
According to the Russian MoD, the unit destroyed Ukrainian tanks, armored vehicles, and enemy mortar positions.
Russian troops invaded Ukraine on 24th February in what the Kremlin is still calling a “special military operation”. Today marks the 85th day of the campaign.
The update comes after Moscow claimed a strategic victory through the fall of the port city of Mariupol.
Russian authorities said they plan to tear down Azovstal itself and turn Mariupol into a “resort city”, according to the Institute for the Study of War.
The Kremlin also says that more than 900 Ukrainian fighters from the Azovstal metallurgical plant have been taken to a former prison colony in a Russian-controlled part of Donetsk.
Russia’s defense ministry said 771 Ukrainian fighters from the steelworks had surrendered in the last 24 hours, taking the total to 1,730, and 80 of the fighters were wounded.
But Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has called Russia’s invasion of Ukraine an “absolute failure” and said Russian leaders were afraid to acknowledge “that catastrophic mistakes were made at the highest military and state level”. Ukraine’s human rights ombudsman at the same time said at least 231 children have died and 427 were injured since February 24.
Zelenskyy also said that said Ukraine is determined to reclaim control over the southern cities of Kherson, Melitopol, Berdiansk, Enerhodar, and Mariupol, now occupied by Russian troops.
Elsewhere, G7 partners are set to meet in Germany later today (Thursday, May 19) to find a way to fix Ukraine’s devastated finances.
On the ground, Ukrainian forces have retaken villages around the north-eastern city of Kharkiv, but Russian forces have advanced slowly in the east of the country.
The Ukrainian Armed Forces claim to have killed about 28,500 Russian soldiers since the Russian invasion of Ukraine began on February 24.
They also say that between February 24 and May 19, the enemy lost 1,254 tanks, 3,063 armored fighting vehicles, 595 artillery systems, 199 multiple launch rocket systems, 93 anti-aircraft warfare systems, 203 aircraft, 167 helicopters, 2,157 motor vehicles and fuel tankers, 13 ships/boats, 455 unmanned aerial vehicles, 43 pieces of special units and 103 cruise missiles.
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