Ukraine: Russia 'can't understand our weapons' says fighter
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Ukrainian forces are gaining an advantage in the war against Russia thanks to new US-delivered artillery weapons that are lighter and more manipulable in their defence against Russian offensives. The new weapons’ deliveries come as Ukraine is struggling to hold the line in the coveted, eastern Donbas region where Putin-led Russian forces have multiplied attacks over the last few weeks. The new technology allows them to fight more rapidly and with ease, according to James Longman’s ABC exclusive report.
Reporting to ABC viewers, Mr Longman said: “That is the M777 US-made howitzer. It is the long-range piece of artillery that Ukraine says is making so much difference to its war.”
Walking away from the howitzer, Mr Longman continued: “Once you fire, you’ve got to move. And the beauty of this particular gun is that it’s lighter than anything Ukrainians have got.
“So, it can be moved out of position before the Russians reply. These weapons are the most advanced Ukraine now has in its arsenal.”
In an interview with an artillery commander who was trained by the United States in Europe to use this type of equipment, Mr Longman reports that the commander says: “the howitzers are so lightweight and easy to move that the enemy can’t understand how we work so rapidly and open fire from the areas that are usually not suitable for artillery.”
It remains unclear whether the new arms deliveries have the potential to turn the tide of the war. Russian troops have gradually gained the upper hand over parts of the Donbas region and have captured the frontline village of Toshkivka, near the key city of Severodonetsk.
A local military official told Ukraine television: “As of today, according to our information, Toshkivka is controlled entirely by the Russians.”
Russian forces are zeroing in on the Ukrainian stronghold of Severodonetsk because it is the last remaining city standing in the way of Russia controlling the Luhansk region – one of the two Donbas’ provinces recognised as independent by Putin before launching the invasion of Ukraine.
Amid the fierce fighting for the city, three American military veterans who volunteered to fight with the Ukrainians have gone missing in the country.
According to the Russian-state Interfax news agency, two of them, Alex Drewkey and Andy Quinn, were seen held hostage by Russian forces and giving pro-Russian statements in custody – most probably forced to do so.
Kremlin’s spokesperson Dmitry Peskov told reporters the two American citizens captured in Donetsk by pro-Russian separatist forces were mercenaries and not covered by the Geneva Convention on prisoners of war.
As a result, he said he “can’t rule out” that the two men could face the death penalty.
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Two British citizens, Aiden Aslin and Shaun Pinner, were sentenced to death in early June after a court in the Russian-backed Donetsk People’s Republic ruled that had carried out terrorist activities.
In a statement to Parliament, Liz Truss said Britain will continue to provide weapons to Ukraine, and impose sanctions on Russia “until we see Russia fully withdraw from Ukraine.”
“We are determined to provide more weapons, impose more sanctions and back Ukraine in pushing Russia out of their territory,” she said.
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