Watch: Pro-Russia Recruits Training on Self-Propelled Heavy Mortar Vehicle

Images allegedly show fresh recruits for a pro-Russia separatist region in Ukraine training on a self-propelled heavy mortar vehicle in eastern Ukraine.

The footage was obtained from the People's Militia of the pro-Russia, so-called Donetsk People's Republic (DPR) on Wednesday, with the DPR claiming that it shows the "combat training of artillerymen."

The so-called DPR claimed in a statement: "Self-propelled 'Tyulpan' mortars are one of the most formidable artillery systems in service with the People's Militia of the DPR. Right in between the performance of combat missions, the mobilized servicemen of the [People' Militia of the] DPR improve their skills in handling these powerful machines."

Donetsk training on "Tyulan" heavy mortars
The People's Militia of the Donetsk People's Republic in Ukraine released footage they say shows the combat training of artillerymen on self-propelled "Tyulan" heavy mortars. Press Service of the UNM DPR/Zenger

An unnamed spokesman for the DPR claimed: "We are at one of the training grounds of the Republic of the DPR, here the mobilized guys, who a few months ago were ordinary civilians, are being trained in the operation of heavy Tyulpan mortars with a caliber of 249 mm. This machine works in the Avdiivka direction and performs the tasks of destroying the targets of the Ukrainian artillery."

An unnamed soldier claimed: "We received Tyulpan products for service, this is a self-propelled mortar, the guys study around the clock, combat training and combat use. They worked early in the morning, returned to their destination, where they are based and continue to improve their level in military qualifications."

Zenger News has not been able to verify the claims or the footage independently.

The 2S4 Tyulpan is a self-propelled heavy mortar vehicle initially designed by the Soviet Union.

Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24 in what the Kremlin still calls a "special military operation." Wednesday marks the 126th day of the invasion.

The General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine reported that between February 24 and June 29, Russia had lost about 35,450 personnel, 1,572 tanks, 3,720 armored combat vehicles, 781 artillery units, 246 multiple launch rocket systems, 103 air defense systems, 217 warplanes, 185 helicopters, 640 drones, 142 cruise missiles, 14 warships, 2,598 motor vehicles and fuel tankers, and 61 units of special equipment.

Turkey has agreed to support Finland and Sweden's NATO membership after having initially opposed the countries' bids to join the military alliance. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan met with Finland's President Sauli Niinisto and Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson at the NATO summit in Madrid.

Jens Stoltenberg, the NATO secretary general, said: "I am pleased to announce that we now have an agreement that paves the way for Finland and Sweden to join NATO."

President Joe Biden congratulated the three countries, saying: "Congratulations to Finland, Sweden, and Turkey on signing a trilateral memorandum – a crucial step towards a NATO invite to Finland and Sweden, which will strengthen our Alliance and bolster our collective security – and a great way to begin the Summit."

The Russian bombing of a shopping mall in the central Ukrainian city of Kremenchuk has been described by Ukrainian President Volodomyr Zelensky as one of the "most brazen terrorist acts in European history." More than 1,000 people are said to have been inside the building when it was hit by missiles.

The death toll has risen to 18 people confirmed dead, with another 59 injured and 25 being treated in hospital. Some 36 people are still unaccounted for.

Russia claimed Tuesday it hit a nearby weapons depot, with the explosion sparking the shopping mall blaze.

Zelensky has urged the United Nations to visit the site and for Russia to be expelled as a permanent member of the UN Security Council, accusing the country of having become a "terrorist state."

Meanwhile, NATO is planning to boost its quick reaction forces from 40,000 troops to over 300,000 troops.

This story was provided to Newsweek by Zenger News.