Video Shows Russian Drone Attack on Ukraine’s U.S.-Made Howitzers

An unverified video shared by Russian news website Rusvesna on Wednesday showed what appears to be a Russian attack against a Ukrainian U.S.-made howitzer that fails to hit the target.

The clip, also shared by a likely pro-Russian Telegram account that features a “Z” in its profile image, has been reposted on Twitter by Rob Lee, a Ph.D. student at London’s King’s College University’s Department of War Studies. The researcher believes the attack may have been conducted with a Zala KYB-UAV, also known as KUB-BLA—a suicide drone produced by a subsidiary of Russia’s Kalashnikov group.

In the video, the KUB-BLA appears to be falling at a small but significant distance from the howitzer, forcing a troop on the ground who can be seen walking toward it to quickly go back on his steps as the munition explodes.

As the video could not be independently confirmed, it’s unclear whether any troops got wounded during the strike, or what was the damage made to equipment.

The video was also picked up by the Twitter account @UAWeapons, which has been tracking the usage of military weapons in Ukraine since the beginning of the war. According to the account, the attack caused “minor damage at best” due to “the distance of the impact and weak explosive payload.”

Russia claims to have destroyed one U.S.-made M77 howitzer used by Ukrainian troops. Above, a Ukrainian serviceman looks at a self-propelled howitzer on a road in the Kharkiv region on May 17, 2022.
SERGEY BOBOK/AFP via Getty Images

Another unverified video shared by a pro-Russian military Telegram account claimed that the same area was hit by MLRS fire, destroying a battery of American M777 howitzer. But Ukraine Weapons Tracker points out that no howitzers were seen in this later footage.

In its latest update on the “special military operation” in Ukraine, the Russian Ministry of Defense claims to have hit 147 artillery and mortar units at firing position, including one U.S.-made 155mm M99 howitzer near “Pidhorodne”—likely a misspelling of Pidhirne, a village in the Donetsk Oblast.

The Russian Ministry of Defense also shared Wednesday on Telegram a clip of several attacks conducted by Russian troops against Ukrainian targets.

Newsweek reached out to the Russian Ministry of Defense and the Ukrainian Armed Forces for comment on the claims.

Ukraine has received 90 155mm M77 howitzer artillery systems plus 180,000 shells from the U.S. since the beginning of the war, according to a list of military equipment provided by Washington to Kyiv that was released by the Pentagon last week.

A video released by Ukraine’s armed forces on Sunday showed Ukrainian troops firing M77 howitzers at the eastern front line. Reuters, which shared the video, said it could not be independently verified.

At a press briefing one day later, a senior Department of Defense official said the howitzers were proving very effective for Ukrainian troops going on the counteroffensive in Donbas.

“We do believe that the howitzers are having an impact, particularly in Kharkiv. Now is that the only reason? I don’t think we would go that far to say that, but we do believe that the systems they’re getting—not just the U.S. systems but the systems from other countries—are absolutely helping them regain some momentum and to take back some territory,” the official said, as quoted by the Department of Defense.

In a conversation with U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, Ukraine’s Defense minister Oleksii Reznikov said 74 of the 90 M77 howitzers are already being used on the battlefield.

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