The footage, allegedly of the Southern Military District, shows Russian soldiers inside of a building – which looks to be some form of warehouse or damaged building in Ukraine – firing man-portable anti-tank rocket systems from over the shoulder.
Soldiers can be seen easily firing their weapons through a doorway.
Two rocket launchers can be seen in the footage, with military expert and Foreign Policy Research Institute fellow Rob Lee suggesting that the weapons looked to be the Russian models PG-7VR and RPO-A.
“Russian razvedchiki firing a PG-7VR round and RPO-A,” Lee wrote on Friday.
In the original Telegram post that shared the footage, a Russian-language caption described how the video showed Russian soldiers destroying the positions of the Armed Forces of Ukraine.
“Russian intelligence officers hit the enemy with guided missiles and fire from RPGs during the battle with Ukrainian militants,” the post reads, per Google Translate.
What is the RPO-A?
The RPO-A Shmel, also known as the “Bumblebee,” is a Russian man-portable thermobaric weapon system. A portable rocket launcher, the RPO-A is specifically designed to help infantrymen fight back when hold-up in a fortified structure or building.
Designed in the Soviet Union in the 1980s, the weapon remains in use to this day.
It is also technically classified as a flamethrower, owing to the fact that it fires rockets fitted with thermobaric warheads.
The footage shows the soldiers using the weapon for its exact purpose, fighting Ukrainian forces surrounding the building with tanks and/or armored vehicles.
What is the PG-7VR?
The PG-7VR is a different kind of weapon, though is also designed to destroy tanks and armored vehicles.
— Rob Lee (@RALee85) June 4, 2022
Light-weight and easy to use, the PG-7VR anti-tank rocket system fired a Tandem HEAT rocket that can pierce through the armor of many modern tanks and armored vehicles.
HEAT stands for “High Explosive Anti-Tank,” and is a form of weapon designed to initiate two explosions upon striking a target. The first charge in the rocket creates an explosion that weakens the tank’s armor, while the second detonation is designed to destroy the inside of the tank. Some weapons inject molten metal inside the vehicles, disabling them and killing anybody inside.
The PG-7VR’s rockets can also pierce reinforced concrete and brick. It has proven a cost-effective weapons system for the Russian military not just in Ukraine but in other war environments too.
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.