Russia Says It Launched Military Satellite Into Orbit

Russia said it launched a military satellite into orbit late Monday.

The footage allegedly shows a Soyuz rocket blasting off from the Plesetsk State Test Cosmodrome in the Arkhangelsk region in northern Russia, at 11:25 p.m.

The Russian authorities stated that it was carrying a military satellite named "Cosmos-2558."

Russia Soyuz rocket carrying military satellite
The Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation said it launched the Soyuz-2.1 rocket with a military satellite in the Arkhangelsk region in Russia on August 1, 2022. The spacecraft was reportedly launched into target orbit by the Volga launch unit and accepted for control of the ground facilities of the Space Forces of the Aerospace Forces. Ministry of Defense of Russia/Zenger

The Russian Ministry of Defense (MoD) claimed in a statement (in English) obtained Tuesday morning: "A lightweight Soyuz-2.1v launch vehicle carrying a spacecraft developed for the Russian Defense Ministry was launched from the Plesetsk State Test Cosmodrome of the Russian Defense Ministry in Arkhangelsk Region by the Space Forces' combat crew.

"The launch of the launch vehicle and insertion of the spacecraft into the target orbit went smoothly. Three minutes after liftoff, the Soyuz-2.1v launch vehicle was escorted by the facilities of the ground automated control system of the German Titov Main Test Space Center.

"At the estimated time, the spacecraft was injected into its target orbit by the Volga launch vehicle and taken over by the ground control facilities of the Space Forces of the Aerospace Forces.

"A stable telemetry link was established and maintained with the spacecraft. The onboard systems of the spacecraft are operating normally."

Zenger News has not been able to independently verify the claims or the footage. The purpose of the satellite is currently unclear.

Zenger News contacted the Russian MoD for further comment, as well as the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense, but had not received a reply at the time of writing.

Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24 in what the Kremlin is calling a "special military operation." Tuesday marks the 160th day of the invasion.

The General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine reported that between February 24 and August 2, Russia had lost about 41,170 personnel, 1,768 tanks, 4,014 armored combat vehicles, 936 artillery units, 259 multiple launch rocket systems, 117 air defense systems, 223 warplanes, 191 helicopters, 739 drones, 174 cruise missiles, 15 warships, 2,914 motor vehicles and fuel tankers, and 82 units of special equipment.

Russia has claimed that its casualties have been much lower, but provides infrequent updates on its latest figures.

Other developments in the Russia-Ukraine war:

António Guterres, the secretary-general of the United Nations, has warned that nuclear annihilation is only one miscalculation away at the opening of a nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) conference in New York. He said that the world is facing "nuclear danger not seen since the height of the Cold War."

He added that the war in Ukraine was a significant factor and said: "Humanity is just one misunderstanding, one miscalculation away from nuclear annihilation."

Russian President Vladimir Putin said in a letter addressed to the attendees of the NPT conference in New York on Monday that there could be "no winners" in the event of nuclear war and that it should "never be unleashed."

Putin warned outsiders in February that any attempt to interfere with his invasion of Ukraine would "lead you to such consequences that you have never encountered in your history." He then put Russia's nuclear forces on high alert.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Washington was "deeply concerned" that Russia is using the captured Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant - the largest in Europe - as a military base and firing on Ukrainian forces from around it. He labeled Moscow's actions "the height of irresponsibility." The U.S. has accused Russia of using the nuclear power plant as a "nuclear shield."

The U.S. is sending more than $500 million in additional weaponry to Ukraine, including ammunition for rocket launchers and artillery. The minister of defense of Ukraine, Oleksii Reznikov said Monday that Ukraine had received four additional HIMARS - High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems - from the U.S.

France's President Emmanuel Macron said Monday that his country is donating a mobile DNA laboratory to the Ukrainian authorities to help ensure that Russia's alleged war crimes do not go unpunished.

This story was provided to Newsweek by Zenger News.