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Dramatic footage has emerged of the moment a pair of Russian tanks suffered a direct hit from bombs stealthily dropped from a Ukrainian drone.

Expertly flown by an operator believed to be from Ukraine’s 503rd Naval Infantry Battalion, the drone swooped above two Russian infantry fighting vehicles (IFVs) at an estimated height of around 400ft, before letting loose its payload.

Five seconds later, the anti-armour grenades detonated and engulfed the IFVs in a pair of huge fireballs.

Ukraine‘s armed forces have used drones to great effect amid the Russian invasion, expertly conducting small-scale airstrikes and using drone-mounted cameras to analyse Russian troop movements to prepare ambushes.

It is unclear where the drone strike took place, though Radio Liberty reported in February that the 503rd Naval Infantry Battalion was deployed in the Donbas region of Donetsk, eastern Ukraine, where fighting has intensified amid a major Russian offensive.

It comes as the Land Forces of Ukraine today reported an estimated 23,000 Russian soldiers have been killed thus far in just nine weeks of war.

A Russian armoured vehicle is seen centre seconds before suffering a direct hit from a grenade dropped from a Ukrainian drone (tip of the grenade is pictured bottom)

A Russian armoured vehicle is seen centre seconds before suffering a direct hit from a grenade dropped from a Ukrainian drone (tip of the grenade is pictured bottom)

A Russian armoured vehicle is seen centre seconds before suffering a direct hit from a grenade dropped from a Ukrainian drone (tip of the grenade is pictured bottom)

The vehicle erupts into flames upon impact after being hit by the grenade, expertly dropped by a drone operator flying his device around 120 metres above the ground

The vehicle erupts into flames upon impact after being hit by the grenade, expertly dropped by a drone operator flying his device around 120 metres above the ground

The vehicle erupts into flames upon impact after being hit by the grenade, expertly dropped by a drone operator flying his device around 120 metres above the ground

Ukraine's armed forces have used drones to great effect amid the Russian invasion, expertly conducting small-scale airstrikes and using drone-mounted cameras to analyse Russian troop movements to prepare ambushes (the burnt out shell of a Russian tank is pictured northeast of Kyiv)

Ukraine's armed forces have used drones to great effect amid the Russian invasion, expertly conducting small-scale airstrikes and using drone-mounted cameras to analyse Russian troop movements to prepare ambushes (the burnt out shell of a Russian tank is pictured northeast of Kyiv)

Ukraine’s armed forces have used drones to great effect amid the Russian invasion, expertly conducting small-scale airstrikes and using drone-mounted cameras to analyse Russian troop movements to prepare ambushes (the burnt out shell of a Russian tank is pictured northeast of Kyiv)

It comes as the Land Forces of Ukraine today reported an estimated 23,000 Russian soldiers have been killed thus far in just nine weeks of war (Valentyna Sherba, 68, stands next to a Russian tank in the backyard of her father's home, both destroyed, in the aftermath of a battle between Russian and Ukrainian troops on the outskirts of Chernihiv in northern Ukraine, Saturday, April 23, 2022)

It comes as the Land Forces of Ukraine today reported an estimated 23,000 Russian soldiers have been killed thus far in just nine weeks of war (Valentyna Sherba, 68, stands next to a Russian tank in the backyard of her father's home, both destroyed, in the aftermath of a battle between Russian and Ukrainian troops on the outskirts of Chernihiv in northern Ukraine, Saturday, April 23, 2022)

It comes as the Land Forces of Ukraine today reported an estimated 23,000 Russian soldiers have been killed thus far in just nine weeks of war (Valentyna Sherba, 68, stands next to a Russian tank in the backyard of her father’s home, both destroyed, in the aftermath of a battle between Russian and Ukrainian troops on the outskirts of Chernihiv in northern Ukraine, Saturday, April 23, 2022)

Pictured: explosives believed to be Ukrainian RKG-1600 grenades. These explosives are based on Sviet-era anti-tank grenades, and have been adapted by the Ukrainian military to be dropped from drones - though it is unclear whether these are the explosives used to destroy the two Russian vehicles

Pictured: explosives believed to be Ukrainian RKG-1600 grenades. These explosives are based on Sviet-era anti-tank grenades, and have been adapted by the Ukrainian military to be dropped from drones - though it is unclear whether these are the explosives used to destroy the two Russian vehicles

Pictured: explosives believed to be Ukrainian RKG-1600 grenades. These explosives are based on Sviet-era anti-tank grenades, and have been adapted by the Ukrainian military to be dropped from drones – though it is unclear whether these are the explosives used to destroy the two Russian vehicles

Russia is believed to have sustained heavy casualties in the eastern Donbas region, as Ukraine’s armed forces continue their bitter defence of the Donetsk and Luhansk territories which have been partially occupied by Moscow-backed separatists since 2014.

Russia’s military leaders are pouring troops and equipment into the east of Ukraine in an attempt to force a bloody victory after they abandoned plans to blitz through Ukraine’s north and seize Kyiv earlier in the war.

Britain’s ministry of defence today said Putin’s troops in the east are still struggling to make ground despite the renewed support, citing poor tactics and the deployment of low-skilled troops as reasons for the slow progress.

‘Shortcomings in Russian tactical coordination remain. A lack of unit-level skills and inconsistent air support have left Russia unable to fully leverage its combat mass, despite localised improvements,’ the MoD tweeted.

Russia hopes to rectify issues that have previously constrained its invasion by geographically concentrating combat power, shortening supply lines and simplifying command and control,’ it said.

Meanwhile, Ukraine’s military continues to carry out attacks behind Russian lines to cut off vital supply routes, with a fuel dump in the Donetsk region catching fire today.

Kyiv has not acknowledged carrying out any of the attacks – which have also hit railway bridges and ammo dumps – but is widely thought to be orchestrating them.

Besides the 23,000 troops lost in battle, Russia has reportedly lost 986 tanks, 2418 armoured vehicles, 189 planes, 155 helicopters and 73 anti-aircraft missile units.

However, Russia has continued its brutal bombardment of the southern port city of Mariupol, where a small battalion of Ukrainian fighters are attempting to evacuate desperate civilians from the Azovstal steel plant.

Britain's ministry of defence today said Putin's troops in the east are still struggling to make ground despite the renewed support, citing poor tactics and the deployment of low-skilled troops as reasons for the slow progress.

Britain's ministry of defence today said Putin's troops in the east are still struggling to make ground despite the renewed support, citing poor tactics and the deployment of low-skilled troops as reasons for the slow progress.

Britain’s ministry of defence today said Putin’s troops in the east are still struggling to make ground despite the renewed support, citing poor tactics and the deployment of low-skilled troops as reasons for the slow progress.

Russian servicemen guard the territory of the cargo sea port in Mariupol. Russia has continued its brutal bombardment of the southern port city, where a small battalion of Ukrainian fighters are attempting to evacuate desperate civilians from the Azovstal steel plant

Russian servicemen guard the territory of the cargo sea port in Mariupol. Russia has continued its brutal bombardment of the southern port city, where a small battalion of Ukrainian fighters are attempting to evacuate desperate civilians from the Azovstal steel plant

Russian servicemen guard the territory of the cargo sea port in Mariupol. Russia has continued its brutal bombardment of the southern port city, where a small battalion of Ukrainian fighters are attempting to evacuate desperate civilians from the Azovstal steel plant

Of the 450,000 people who lived in Mariupol prior to Russia’s invasion of February 24, only around 100,000 remain in the bombed out ruins of the city.

But Russia’s attacks are now concentrated on the Soviet-era steel plant located close to the harbour – the only part of the city not under occupation – where a small contingent of between 1,000-2000 Ukrainian soldiers are staging a desperate holdout alongside roughly 1,000 civilians.

Ukrainian soldiers hiding in the network of tunnels and rooms underneath the plant have repeatedly called for international aid and a safe passage for evacuation, saying the plant’s residents are barely surviving on extremely limited food and water and that there are many injured soldiers and civilians suffering without proper medical attention. 

U.N. humanitarian spokesman Saviano Abreu said the world organization was negotiating with authorities in Moscow and Kyiv to organise a ceasefire.

‘There is, right now, ongoing, high-level engagements with all the governments, Russia and Ukraine, to make sure that you can save civilians and support the evacuation of civilians from the plant,’ Abreu said today, but he could not provide details of the ongoing evacuation effort ‘because of the complexity and fluidity of the operation.’

Ukraine has blamed the failure of numerous previous evacuation attempts on continued Russian shelling.

Russia has continued its brutal bombardment of the southern port city of Mariupol (pictured), where a small battalion of Ukrainian fighters are attempting to evacuate desperate civilians from the Azovstal steel plant

Russia has continued its brutal bombardment of the southern port city of Mariupol (pictured), where a small battalion of Ukrainian fighters are attempting to evacuate desperate civilians from the Azovstal steel plant

Russia has continued its brutal bombardment of the southern port city of Mariupol (pictured), where a small battalion of Ukrainian fighters are attempting to evacuate desperate civilians from the Azovstal steel plant

People take part in a rally demanding international leaders to organise a humanitarian corridor for the evacuation of Ukrainian military and civilians from Mariupol, amid Russia's invasion of Ukraine, in central Kyiv, Ukraine April 30, 2022

People take part in a rally demanding international leaders to organise a humanitarian corridor for the evacuation of Ukrainian military and civilians from Mariupol, amid Russia's invasion of Ukraine, in central Kyiv, Ukraine April 30, 2022

People take part in a rally demanding international leaders to organise a humanitarian corridor for the evacuation of Ukrainian military and civilians from Mariupol, amid Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, in central Kyiv, Ukraine April 30, 2022

Russia's attacks are now concentrated on the Soviet-era steel plant (pictured) located close to the harbour - the only part of the city not under occupation - where a small contingent of between 1,000-2000 Ukrainian soldiers are staging a desperate holdout alongside roughly 1,000 civilians

Russia's attacks are now concentrated on the Soviet-era steel plant (pictured) located close to the harbour - the only part of the city not under occupation - where a small contingent of between 1,000-2000 Ukrainian soldiers are staging a desperate holdout alongside roughly 1,000 civilians

Russia’s attacks are now concentrated on the Soviet-era steel plant (pictured) located close to the harbour – the only part of the city not under occupation – where a small contingent of between 1,000-2000 Ukrainian soldiers are staging a desperate holdout alongside roughly 1,000 civilians

Smoke rises from the grounds of the Azovstal steel plant in the city of Mariupol on April 29, 2022, amid the ongoing Russian military action in Ukraine

Smoke rises from the grounds of the Azovstal steel plant in the city of Mariupol on April 29, 2022, amid the ongoing Russian military action in Ukraine

Smoke rises from the grounds of the Azovstal steel plant in the city of Mariupol on April 29, 2022, amid the ongoing Russian military action in Ukraine

The ferocity of the fighting, and the plight of the civilians hiding in the Azovstal factory, has stunned the world, bringing Pentagon press secretary John Kirby to the verge of tears on Friday.

‘It’s hard to look at what [Putin] is doing in Ukraine, what his forces are doing in Ukraine, and think that any ethical, moral individual could justify that,’ Kirby, a retired rear admiral, told reporters. 

‘It’s difficult to look at some of the images and imagine that any well-thinking, serious, mature leader would do that. So, I can’t talk to his psychology. But I think we can all speak to his depravity.’

A vast underground network of tunnels and bunkers has provided civilians and fighters hiding in the steel plant with relative safety from airstrikes. 

But the situation has grown more dire in recent days after the Russians dropped ‘bunker busters’ and other bombs on the plant, the city’s mayor Vadym Boychenko said Friday.

Women whose husbands are trapped in the plant with the Azov Regiment said they feared soldiers will be tortured and killed if they are left behind and captured.

Source: dailymail

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