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Russia says captured German tanks, US fighting vehicles in Ukraine

German army battle tanks Leopard 2 return after NATO enhanced Forward Presence Battle Group Lithuania exercise in Pabrade military training field, Lithuania, May 17, 2017. (File photo by Reuters)

Russia has released new video footage showing captured German-made Leopard tanks and US Bradley vehicles in Ukraine being inspected by Russian troops.

Moscow said on Tuesday that it had captured several of each of these armored fighting vehicles in the Zaporizhzhia region.

"Leopard tanks and Bradley infantry fighting vehicles. These are our trophies. Equipment of the Ukrainian armed forces in the Zaporizhzhia region," the Russian defense ministry said in a statement.

Zaporizhzhia is one of several areas where Kiev forces have been trying to launch an offensive that Russia said has been repelled by its forces.

The video showed "servicemen of the Vostok group inspect enemy tanks and infantry fighting vehicles captured in battle," the statement said.

The Russian defense ministry added that several of the captured vehicles had working engines, suggesting that the battles they were involved in had been shot and that the Kiev forces had "fled" from their positions.

Earlier this year Berlin started sending advanced Leopard battle tanks to Ukraine, after months of pleas from Kiev for the heavy weapons to bolster its forces against Russia.

In related news on Monday, German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius told broadcaster RTL that "we will not be able to replace every tank that is now out of action".

Pistorius did not confirm whether some of the tanks shown in the video were German-made Leopards. However, he did say that "unfortunately it is the nature of war that weapons are destroyed, that tanks are destroyed and people are killed."

In the meantime, Russian President Vladimir Putin reaffirmed on Tuesday that the fundamental character of Moscow's said objectives remained the same despite the large-scale offensive launched by Kiev in four directions.

In a televised meeting with military bloggers on Tuesday, Putin said the objectives of Moscow's military campaign in Ukraine might evolve with the situation, but that their fundamental character would not change.

Russia launched its special military operation against Ukraine last February as part of its efforts to defend the pro-Russian population in Donbas against persecution by the neo-Nazi Kiev regime.


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