Ukraine bodycam footage shows soldiers unleashing mortar on Russian forces

Ukraine has shared new footage of Kyiv’s fighters targeting Russian soldiers with mortar fire in the southern Zaporizhzhia region, as the counteroffensive rolls on in the south and east of the country.

In bodycam footage shared by Ukraine’s National Guard on Thursday, Ukrainian soldiers fire a mortar from an unspecified location along the Zaporizhzhia front.

Newsweek cannot independently verify the location of this footage, or when it was filmed. The Ukrainian and Russian defense ministries have been contacted for comment via email.

Artillery, including mortars, has been crucial for both Ukrainian and Russian operations during the war.

Ukrainian Mortar
A Ukrainian serviceman fires a mortar toward a Russian position in Bakhmut on February 16, 2023. Ukraine has shared new footage of Kyiv’s fighters targeting Russian soldiers with mortars in the country’s southern Zaporizhzhia region.

“Artillery has been Russia’s advantage, until now,” a senior defense intelligence official told Newsweek earlier this week. The official requested anonymity to speak about sensitive matters.

“Though the artillery duel between the two countries has been relentless and had crushing effect on both sides, it is Russia that is now suffering the greatest losses,” they added.

The Zaporizhzhia region was one of four mainland Ukrainian regions annexed by Russia in September 2022, although this is not recognized by the international community. Russia controls parts of Zaporizhzhia, including the occupied cities of Melitopol and Berdiansk, but the front line currently falls south of the Zaporizhzhia city of Orikhiv.

The region is one of the focal points for Ukraine’s counteroffensive, launched two months ago. More than 15 settlements in Zaporizhzhia experienced Russian artillery shelling in the past day, the General Staff of Ukraine’s Armed Forces said in a statement on Thursday morning.

Russian forces carried out some ground attacks in the east of Zaporizhzhia but “did not make any confirmed or claimed advances on August 2,” the Washington-based think tank, the Institute for the Study of War, said in its latest update.

On Tuesday, Russia’s Defense Ministry said Russia’s top soldier, General Valery Gerasimov, visited western Zaporizhzhia to inspect a command post there. Footage posted by the Russian government of Gerasimov’s reported trip portrays the Chief of Russia’s General Staff as “the architect of Russian defensive operations in one sector of the Ukrainian counteroffensive in the south,” the ISW said on August 1.

Ukraine’s long-touted counteroffensive, which has seen Kyiv regain territory from Russian forces, has nonetheless attracted some criticism for its slow progress.

Speaking in mid-June, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky hit back at these comments, telling the BBC that “some people believe this is a Hollywood movie and expect results now. It’s not.”

“What’s at stake is people’s lives,” he added.

Zelensky later said in mid-July that the start of the counteroffensive was delayed because Western weapons deliveries, which are crucial for Ukrainian operations, had not arrived, and therefore soldiers were not adequately trained on new equipment.

“We didn’t want to lose our people, our personnel,” Zelensky told CNN.

The later start to Kyiv’s concerted push back against Russian forces also allowed Moscow more time to strengthen its defenses and lay mines, he added.

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