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Shocking footage has emerged of the moment a Russian soldier attempted to destroy a Ukrainian missile launcher from close range with dramatic and potentially lethal consequences.
The clip, shared on a pro-Russian channel on social media and messaging app Telegram, shows one of Putin’s fighters taking aim at an abandoned Ukrainian S-300 missile launcher sitting mere yards away.
After taking a few moments to compose himself, the soldier squeezes the trigger of his PKM machine gun, presumably expecting to damage the hardware or perhaps set off a minor explosion to render it inoperable.
A split second later the missile launcher erupts into an enormous explosion, sending gouts of flame blasting toward the lone gunman and his comrade holding the camera.
The pro-Russian publishers of the video claimed on Telegram that none of the Russian soldiers present at the scene were injured in the explosion.
But the video clearly shows how the troops’ position was engulfed in the fireball and it is highly unlikely that members of the unit did not suffer at least some injuries.
No explanation was offered as to why the soldiers did not open fire on the missile launcher from a greater distance, but the clip appears to showcase the lack of experience among some of the battalions sent by Putin and his warmasters to the front lines.
After taking a few moments to compose himself, the soldier squeezes the trigger of his PKM machine gun, presumably in an attempt to damage the Ukrainian hardware or set off a minor explosion
A split second later the missiles explode in a huge fireball which engulfed the Russian position
The startling footage emerged as Russia continues to slowly inch further into Ukrainian held territory in the east after successfully seizing the Luhansk region just days ago.
Ukraine has so far staved off any major Russian advance into the north of its Donetsk region, but pressure is intensifying with heavy shelling, missile and rocket fire on the city of Sloviansk and nearby populated areas, Kyiv’s military said on Wednesday.
Russia and separatist proxies were already in control of the southern part of Donetsk province when they effectively completed the seizure of the neighbouring Luhansk region on Sunday with the capture of Lysychansk, much of which now lies in ruins.
Moscow says ejecting the Ukrainian military out of both regions is now its primary objective after Putin ordered his commanders to keep on pressing after Luhansk was taken fully under Russian control.
Donetsk and Luhansk provinces comprise the Donbas, the eastern, heavily industrial region of Ukraine that has become Europe’s biggest battlefield.
In its evening note on Wednesday, Ukraine’s general staff suggested that Russian forces were intensifying pressure on Ukrainian defenders along the northern flanks of the Donetsk region.
It said Russian forces were bombarding several Ukrainian towns with heavy weaponry to enable ground forces to advance southward into the region and close in on Sloviansk.
A worker stands in a crater in front of a heavily damaged house in a residential area of Kramatorsk on July 4, 2022
A man injured after a bombing by the Russian army on the central market of Sloviansk is treated in the city hospital of Kramatorsk
A cyclist rides past a tail section of a rocket embedded in a road in Kramatorsk
Ukrainian soldiers on the top of a Ukrainian armoured fighting vehicle gesture as they drive down at the exit of Kramatorsk, eastern Ukraine, on July 6, 2022
Donetsk governor Pavlo Kyrylenko, left, and Minister for Veterans Affairs Iulia Laputina, get news that there has been shelling at a market in Sloviansk
‘The enemy is trying to improve its tactical position… (They) advanced before being repulsed by our soldiers and retreating with losses,’ the Ukrainian military update said.
Russian shelling killed at least eight civilians in the region over the past 24 hours and wounded 25 more, Ukrainian officials said earlier today.
Governor Pavlo Kyrylenko said in a Telegram post that two people died in the city of Avdiivka, while the Donetsk cities of Sloviansk, Krasnohorivka and Kurakhove each reported one civilian killed.
‘Every crime will be punished,’ he wrote.
Kyrylenko urged the region’s more than 350,000 remaining residents to flee late Tuesday, saying that evacuating Donetsk was necessary to save lives and allow the Ukrainian army to put up a better defence against the Russian advance.
Other Russian forces aimed to seize two towns en route to the city of Kramatorsk, south of Sloviansk, and were also trying to take control of the main highway linking Luhansk and Donetsk provinces.
Russia had also carried air strikes in support of ground forces in the region, the general staff added.
A woman says goodbye to her son before his evacuation from the city of Sloviansk earlier today
Yurii Sherbakov, 53, stands in front of a destroyed house where he was injured during shelling, as Russia’s attack on Ukraine continues, in Sloviansk, Donetsk region, Ukraine, July 5, 2022
A man stands next to the damage caused to the central market in Sloviansk by a suspected missile attack, on July 6, 2022, amid the Russian invasion of Ukraine
‘We are holding back the enemy on the (Luhansk/Donetsk) border,’ Luhansk Governor Serhiy Haidai earlier told Ukrainian TV earlier.
Sloviansk Mayor Vadym Lyakh told a video briefing the city had been shelled for the last two weeks.
‘The situation is tense,’ he said, adding that 17 residents had been killed there since President Vladimir Putin ordered Russian forces into Ukraine on Feb. 24.
Russia’s defence ministry said it had destroyed two advanced U.S.-made HIMARS rocket systems and their ammunition depots in Donetsk province earlier this week – something later denied by Ukraine whose armed forces said the HIMARS system was being used to great effect.
Russia’s invasion has killed thousands, displaced millions and flattened cities. It has also raised global energy and food prices, particularly in poorer countries, as Ukraine and Russia are both major grain producers.