Russian Footage Contradicts Own Claims Of Ukrainian HIMARS Destruction

Russia’s defense ministry claimed on Wednesday to have destroyed two Ukrainian HIMARS multiple rocket launchers, but their claims were contradicted by the video they released of the engagement, which showed nothing of the sort.

The ministry released purported targeting camera footage of the strike near Kramatorsk in Donetsk Oblast that allegedly destroyed the HIMARS launchers. However, the footage instead shows the Russian munition used missing four small structures, with nothing resembling HIMARS vehicles in sight.

The Ukrainian military has denied the claims, saying that the claims made by “Russian propagandists” were not true and “nothing more than a fake”. Instead, the Joint Forces Task Force counterclaims that the American-supplied HIMARS are constantly delivering “crushing blows” to strategic Russian positions, incurring heavy losses on Russian personnel, equipment and supplies alike.

Moscow’s claims follow an increasingly long chain of artillery strikes on Russian supply depots and transportation hubs by Ukrainian forces in recent weeks, with some strikes taking place at significant distances behind the frontlines. The highly destructive strikes are believed to have been carried out using Western-supplied equipment like the French CAESAR truck-mounted self propelled howitzer and the HIMARS, due to the ranges and precision of the strikes surpassing what appears to be achievable with most of Ukraine’s pre-war artillery inventory. The high mobility of the self-propelled systems further aids their survivability, as they can easily disperse or reposition after firing to elude Russian counterbattery fire.

Claiming the destruction of two HIMARS, then, would be a Russian attempt to assuage frustration from those sympathetic to Moscow with the mounting toll of destroyed supplies and casualties resulting from the Ukrainian strikes. This is not without precedent either, as individuals connected to the Russian military have previously released drone footage of a successful counter-battery attack on a Western-supplied M777 towed howitzer. However, Russian fire in that footage can be clearly seen hitting the M777, which is not the case with the claimed HIMARS destruction.