Ukraine’s 79th Air Assault Brigade, part of the unit that became known as “Cyborgs” in 2014 due to their lengthy and stubborn defence of Donetsk airport against pro-Russian separatists, have destroyed another of Putin’s tanks. The T-72B3 tank is followed by the brigade in Donetsk Oblast, the footage shows, and is hit twice before the soldiers within the vehicle flee into the nearby cover of trees.
The dramatic footage shows the brigade spotting the enemy vehicle on a dirt track in a forest in the most easterly oblast of Ukraine.
The tank then speeds off as the brigade follows, attempting to secure a lock on the target to launch an attack.
As the tank drives out into a more open road, it is partially hit and smoke starts to billow from its left corner.
A direct hit then lands on the top of the tank, by its turret, causing the vehicle to explode into flames.
Two Russian soldiers are spotted fleeing out of the tank as it is still moving. The vehicle, then engulfed in flames, careens off the side of the road into a lamppost.
The Donbas region of Ukraine has become the epicentre of conflict since the withdrawal of Russian forces from Kyiv.
Russia’s defence ministry said on Sunday its forces pummelled Ukrainian command centres, troops and ammunition depots in Donbas and the Mykolaiv region in the south with airstrikes and artillery.
Russian-backed separatists already controlled parts of Luhansk and neighbouring Donetsk before the invasion, but Moscow wants to seize the remaining Ukrainian-held territory in the region.
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Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said at a news conference with President of Poland Andrzej Duda that 50 to 100 Ukrainians are dying every day in that area.
Russia is waging a major offensive in Luhansk, one of two provinces in Donbas, after ending weeks of resistance by the last Ukrainian fighters in the strategic southeastern port of Mariupol.
The heaviest fighting focused around the twin cities of Sievierodonetsk and Lysychansk, interior ministry adviser Vadym Denysenko told Ukrainian television yesterday.
The cities form the eastern part of a Ukrainian-held pocket that Russia has been trying to overrun since mid-April, when it shifted focus to the south and east after abandoning an attempt to take Kyiv.
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Serhiy Gaidai, the governor of Luhansk, said in a local television interview that Russia was using “scorched-earth” tactics.
He said: “They are wiping Sievierodonetsk from the face of the earth.”
Russian shelling and “heavy fighting” near Sievierodonetsk has continued, but the invading forces failed to secure the nearby village Oleksandrivka, a Ukrainian military statement said.
Ukraine’s military said seven civilians were killed and eight injured during Russian attacks in Donbas on Sunday.