Footage shared on Telegram this week (see below for Twitter version) shows a Russian Msta-B howitzer battery in Ukraine. The footage appears to have been professionally recorded and edited for the Russian military, potentially responding to a series of videos shared by the Ukrainian military boasting about attacks on Russian soldiers.
On May 24, the Russian Ministry of Defense issued a statement alongside the video.
“Footage shows the combat work of the 152-mm ‘Msta-B’ howitzers of the Western Military District when performing firing operations to destroy armored vehicles and fortified positions of the Armed Forces of Ukraine,” the Ministry of Defense said.
The minute-long film starts by showing close-ups of the Soviet-era howitzer, and then the soldiers loading the weapon with shells and firing at Ukrainian positions.
Towards the end of the video, Orlan-10 UAV footage shows the weapons striking a Ukrainian target. The entire video is also overlayed with dramatic music.
Soldiers seen loading and firing the weapons in the clip were from the Western Military District.
Propagandizing As War Efforts Struggle
While Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has admitted that the Donbas region of Ukraine is “completely destroyed,” Russian forces still have not achieved their goal of annexing the region. After three months of war, Russia has failed to take control of Ukraine’s capital city and continues to struggle to achieve its goals in the east.
Nonetheless, Russia’s military continues to share videos demonstrating their military prowess – even after losing at least 695 tanks, thousands of armored vehicles, and tens of thousands of soldiers.
Beyond the military failures, Russia is also hurting from a slew of economic sanctions placed on the country by the United States and other NATO states. This week, a senior Russian government official said that Moscow would allow vessels in Ukraine’s southern ports safe passage in return for the lifting of some sanctions.
— Rob Lee (@RALee85) May 24, 2022
Russia isn’t alone in propagandizing via video, however.
A 44-second video shared by Ukraine’s Special Operations Forces this week showed an American Switchblade drone flying straight into a Russian tank and killing everyone in and around it. The footage, taken by the loitering munition, showed the final seconds of the lives of several Russian soldiers sitting on a tank and drinking alcohol.
The footage was overlayed with the Star Wars “Imperial March” music. At the end of the video, a movie-style credits section appears and is accompanied by the “Curb Your Enthusiasm” soundtrack.
Jack Buckby is a British author, counter-extremism researcher, and journalist based in New York. Reporting on the U.K., Europe, and the U.S., he works to analyze and understand left-wing and right-wing radicalization, and reports on Western governments’ approaches to the pressing issues of today. His books and research papers explore these themes and propose pragmatic solutions to our increasingly polarized society.