Footage has emerged of the incredible moment a lone Ukrainian tank single-handedly destroyed several Russian armoured vehicles in the outskirts of Ukraine’s capital, Kyiv.
The drone footage was published by a Ukrainian volunteer unit on Telegram and shows what appears to be a Ukrainian T-64 tank ambushing a whole convoy of Russian BTR-82A armoured vehicles, in Nova Basan, about 80km west of Kyiv.
The tank operator, perfectly positioned to ambush the convoy, was able to fire several rounds from a concealed location behind a house.
The footage shows one BTR quickly set on fire, leading the other armoured vehicles to fire back.
However, because the Ukrainian T-64 was out of sight of the convoy, it continued to fire at them, outsmarting Russian troops until further artillery reinforcements arrived.
It has also been reported that Ukrainian soldiers have used one of Moscow’s captured thermobaric weapons against Russian troops, near Izyum in eastern Ukraine.
The TOS-1A rocket launcher is illegal to use on civilians but allowed to be used against military targets.
Meanwhile, the mayor of the besieged port city of Mariupol put the number of civilians killed there at more than 5,000 Wednesday, as Ukraine collected evidence of Russian atrocities on the ruined outskirts of Kyiv and braced for what could become a climactic battle for control of the country’s industrial east.
Ukrainian authorities continued gathering up the dead in shattered towns outside the capital amid telltale signs Moscow’s troops killed civilians indiscriminately before retreating over the past several days.
In other developments, the US and its Western allies moved to impose new sanctions against the Kremlin over what they have branded war crimes.
And Russia completed the pullout of all of its estimated 24,000 or more troops from the Kyiv and Chernihiv areas in the north, sending them into Belarus or Russia to resupply and reorganise, probably to return to the fight in the east, a US defence official speaking on condition of anonymity said.
In his nightly address, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy warned that the Russian military continues to build up its forces in preparation for the new offensive in the east, where the Kremlin has said its goal is to “liberate” the Donbas, Ukraine’s mostly Russian-speaking industrial heartland. He said Ukraine, too, was preparing for battle.
“We will fight and we will not retreat,” he said. “We will seek all possible options to defend ourselves until Russia begins to seriously seek peace. This is our land. This is our future. And we won’t give them up.”
Ukrainian authorities urged people living in the Donbas to evacuate now, ahead of an impending Russian offensive, while there is still time.
“Later, people will come under fire,” Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk said, “and we won’t be able to do anything to help them.”
A Western official, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss intelligence estimates, said it will take Russia’s battle-damaged forces as much as a month to regroup for a major push on eastern Ukraine.
Mariupol Mayor Vadym Boichenko said that of the more than 5,000 civilians killed during weeks of Russian bombardment and street fighting, 210 were children. He said Russian forces bombed hospitals, including one where 50 people burned to death.
Boichenko said more than 90 per cent of the city’s infrastructure has been destroyed. The attacks on the strategic southern city on the Sea of Azov have cut off food, water, fuel and medicine and pulverised homes and businesses.
British defence officials said 160,000 people remained trapped in the city, which had a prewar population of 430,000. A humanitarian relief convoy accompanied by the Red Cross has been trying for days without success to get into the city.
Capturing Mariupol would allow Russia to secure a continuous land corridor to the Crimean Peninsula, which Moscow seized from Ukraine in 2014.
In the north, Ukrainian authorities said the bodies of least 410 civilians have been found in towns around Kyiv, victims of what Zelenskyy has portrayed as a Russian campaign of murder, rape, dismemberment and torture. Some victims had apparently been shot at close range. Some were found with their hands bound.
At a cemetery in the town of Bucha, northeast of Kyiv, workers began to load more than 60 bodies apparently collected over the past few days into a grocery shipping truck for transport to a facility for further investigation.
Zelenskyy accused Russia of interfering with an international investigation into possible war crimes by removing corpses and trying to hide other evidence in Bucha.
“We have information that the Russian troops have changed tactics and are trying to remove the dead people, the dead Ukrainians, from the streets and cellars of territory they occupied,” he said in his address. “This is only an attempt to hide the evidence and nothing more.”
Switching from Ukrainian into Russian, Zelenskyy urged ordinary Russians “to somehow confront the Russian repressive machine” instead of being “equated with the Nazis for the rest of your life”.
He called on Russians to demand an end to the war, “if you have even a little shame about what the Russian military is doing in Ukraine.”
– additional reporting by AP
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