UKRAINIAN troops were recently filmed testing American-made Javelin missiles against Russian cage-style tank armor.
Video, released on Thursday by Ukraine’s Joint Forces Press Service, shows military forces conducting combat drills in a conflict area with separatists in eastern Ukraine.
The drills took place on a training range, according to the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine.
The target was located around one mile away and appeared to be a Cold War-era tank turret.
Officials said this was the first time the troops had fired the Javelin.
Since 2018, Ukraine – which is trying to join the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, or Nato – has received US ammunition and Javelin missiles, prompting criticism from Moscow.
Kyiv has accused Moscow of massing tens of thousands of troops in preparation for a possible offensive, raising fears that a simmering conflict in Ukraine’s eastern Donbas region could erupt into open war between the neighbors.
Russia has denied planning any attack but accuses Ukraine and the US of destabilizing behavior.
It was reported last week that Russia held its own nearby military drills – which included SU-30 fighter jets and SU-24 bombers from the Black Sea Fleet performing aerial refueling exercises over Crimea, the Black Sea peninsula which Russia annexed from Ukraine in 2014.
Oleksiy Danilov, Ukraine’s top security official, said on Wednesday that 122,000 Russian troops were 124 miles away from the border with Ukraine.
ON THE FRONT
Danilov told Reuters last week that Russia would need at least 500,000 to 600,000 soldiers at the border “in order to keep the situation under control in the event of an offensive.”
He also said Russia could increase troop numbers very quickly and at any moment, but would need more than 24 hours to bring enough troops to the border to mount an invasion.
On Friday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy held a video call with 20 US senators and members of Congress amid growing tensions with Russia.
“Now, more than ever, it is not words that matter, but decisive actions,” a statement quoted Zelenskyy as saying.
“My goal is to stop the bloodshed in the east of Ukraine. It’s impossible to imagine security in Europe without ending the war in Donbas.”
Zelenskyy and the lawmakers also talked about applying further sanctions pressure on Russia, Washington’s support of Kyiv’s “Euro-Atlantic aspirations,” and Ukraine’s prospects for Nato membership.
Russia and Ukraine have been locked in a bitter tug-of-war since Moscow annexed Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula in 2014 and threw its support behind the separatist insurgency that has since left more than 14,000 people dead.
A 2015 peace deal, brokered by France and Germany, ended large-scale hostilities in Donbas, but efforts to reach a political settlement of the conflict have failed so far.
According to recent reports, Russia has approved plans for “urgent mass graves” amid fears that World War Three could break out after an invasion of Ukraine.
Russian outlet MK claims the burial sites were constructed as a priority after they allegedly appeared on leaked legal documents that are expected to come into force on February 1.