The pro-Russia separatist forces said (in Russian): “The People’s Militia strives to save the lives of Ukrainian soldiers and calls for them to lay down their arms.”
Zvezda – a Russian state-owned nationwide TV network run by the Russian Ministry of Defense (MoD) – said the footage was filmed near the city of Zolote, which is currently under the control of the LPR.
It said the shells were fused to explode mid-air so that the leaflets would scatter over a large area in Ukrainian-held territory.
The leaflets, according to Zvezda, contain detailed information on the procedure for giving up weapons and voluntarily surrendering safely to pro-Russia forces.
An LRP People’s Militia artilleryman named Vadim was quoted as saying: “We give the last warning to the Ukrainian Nazis to surrender. Or we will replace the shells with live ones, and then they will not have time to write farewell letters home.”
When Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24, Russian President Vladimir Putin called it a “special military operation” to “demilitarize and denazify” Ukraine.
The Kremlin is still calling the invasion a “special military operation” but now says the goal is to “protect Donbass”.
Even though Moscow’s stated aim has changed, the Russian military still frequently refers to enemy troops as “Nazis” or “nationalists”.
In its latest briefing on May 25, the Russian MoD said (in English): “In total, 178 Ukrainian airplanes and 126 helicopters, 1,006 unmanned aerial vehicles, 322 anti-aircraft missile systems, 3,258 tanks and other armored combat vehicles, 430 multiple launch rocket systems, 1,671 field artillery and mortars, as well as 3,155 units of special military vehicles were destroyed during the operation.”
Meanwhile, the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine said Russia had lost about 29,450 soldiers and officers, “1,305 tanks, 3,213 armored fighting vehicles, 606 artillery systems, 201 MLR systems, 93 air defense systems, 206 warplanes, 170 helicopters, 491 operational and tactical level UAVs, 112 cruise missiles, 13 warships/cutters, 2,217 other vehicles and tanker trucks, and 44 pieces of special equipment” over the same period.