Rare Thermal Vision Footage Shows Cluster Rounds Rain Down on Russian Tanks

New footage appears to show Ukrainian forces wielding thermal vision drones to guide a cluster munitions strike on several Russian armored vehicles in eastern Ukraine.

The clip, shared to social media by a former Ukrainian fighter who fundraises for Kyiv’s drone fleets, appears to show the country’s 92nd Separate Assault Brigade targeting the Russian forces.

The brief video appears to show a Ukrainian thermal vision drone scope out Russian armored vehicles before Kyiv’s troops launch an artillery strike. Submunitions from cluster bombs can be seen landing across the field, with at least two explosions suggesting the bomblets released by cluster bombs hit two armored vehicles.

Ukrainian media reported that the scene was filmed around the village of Andriivka, a shattered village to the south of the ruined city of Bakhmut. Russia has controlled the latter, in Ukraine’s eastern Donetsk region, since May 2023, and has worked to inch westward towards the settlement of Chasiv Yar in the months since it claimed Bakhmut.

Ukraine Russia Armored Vehicles
A Ukrainian serviceman walks past destroyed Russian tanks near Kyiv on April 3, 2022. Footage appears to show Ukrainian forces wielding thermal vision drones to guide a cluster munitions strike on Russian armored vehicles in…

Sergei SUPINSKY/AFP via Getty Images

It is not possible to independently verify the video, including when and where it was filmed. Newsweek has reached out to the Russian Defense Ministry for comment via email.

Ukraine often publishes footage of its drones conducting strikes on Russian forces, including of Russian armored vehicles. Uncrewed aerial vehicles (UAVs) can guide strikes by Ukraine’s artillery systems, including those firing cluster munitions, or explosive drones can directly approach a target while filming their journey.

“You can see effective work of our artillery and cluster munitions, however, it wouldn’t be possible [without] thermal vision drones that provided the picture,” the account posting the footage said.

In December 2023, Ukraine’s drone tsar, Mykhailo Fedorov, told Newsweek that first-person-view explosive drones work “sometimes even more efficiently than artillery.”

Cluster munitions have been used by both sides of the conflict. They are both controversial and effective weapons against opposing infantry forces. The U.S. agreed to supply Ukraine with dual-purpose improved conventional munitions (DPICM) in July 2023.

Cluster munitions are banned in more than 120 countries, as they can place civilians in harm’s way and detonate long after they are deployed.

The U.S., Ukraine and Russia are not signed up to a treaty prohibiting the production, use or stockpiling of cluster munitions.

In mid-October 2023, Ukraine revealed it had received cluster variants of the U.S.’s ATACMS, or the Army Tactical Missile System, in a set of strikes on Russian military bases in Moscow-controlled Ukrainian territory.

Kyiv attacked a Russian facility in the Zaporizhzhia city of Berdiansk and in Russian-annexed Luhansk City, and said it had destroyed nine Russian helicopters as well as a slew of other equipment.

In the wake of the strikes, open-source intelligence reports later suggested that Ukraine may have damaged up to 21 Russian helicopters.