This is the audacious moment a Russian tank is obliterated just outside Mariupol, with its turret shooting up hundreds of feet into the air.
Amazing video shot by Chinese state TV channel Phoenix shows the sudden blast in eastern Ukraine, which saw the Russian tank wiped out instantaneously.
It’s not clear what sort of weapon was used to detonate the immense explosion, but it must have been hefty to trigger such a blast.
Bizarrely, the tank’s turret stayed perfectly intact as it flew 250ft (76m) into the air above the busy road into war-torn Mariupol, south-eastern Ukraine.
The Chinese journalist who shot the footage said her driver had to slam on the brakes to avert the blast.
Phoenix TV wrote: ‘Reporter Lu Yuguang escaped death during the interview in eastern Ukraine [as] the driver needed emergency deceleration to avoid danger.’
It added: ‘Phoenix Satellite TV dispatched a frontline interview team from eastern Ukraine to go to the Mariupol Azov Steel Plant on May 6 to discuss the evacuation of civilians by the United Nations, the International Committee of the Red Cross and the Russian Military Organization.’
The massive explosion took place just outside Mariupol in south-eastern Ukraine: Phoenix TV
The reporter’s car had to slam the brakes, the Chinese outlet said, in order to avert disaster
The strike footage appears to be the latest sign of what defence experts have termed the ‘jack in the box’ effect in Russian tanks.
A fatal design flaw dating back to the Gulf War leaves Putin’s maligned weapons of war little more than ‘mobile coffins’.
Sam Bendett, an adviser with the Russian Studies Program at the Center for a New American Security, told CNN: ‘What we are witnessing with Russian tanks is a design flaw.
A fatal design flaw in Russian tanks dating back to the Gulf War has made them ‘sitting ducks’ for Ukrainian attacks, blasting the turret up to two storeys into the air, defence experts said
‘Any successful hit … quickly ignites the ammo causing a massive explosion, and the turret is literally blown off.’
Western militaries have learned from the flaw and their tanks now have compartmentalised ammunition.
Steven Zaloga, an expert on Russian and Soviet armour, told military site Task & Purpose: ‘If you see film footage of a hit followed by the ammunition fire, typically what happens is that one propellant casing goes off — or one or two — because of a penetration.
‘The explosion of the first propellant case tends to trigger more.
‘And so, what you often-times see is a sequence where one propellant case or a couple of propellant cases go off and then the stowage down in the autoloader goes up, basically like a string of firecrackers.’
Smoke rises amid ruins of Mariupol’s Azovstal steel works, which is under a weeks-long siege
Finnish leaders say country must apply to join NATO ‘without delay’
Finland’s president and prime minister have said the country must submit an application to join NATO within days, dramatically ramping up tensions between Russia and the West.
President Sauli Niinisto and prime minister Sanna Marin made a joint statement today saying they will join the security alliance ‘without delay’, despite Kremlin threats it would secure ‘the entire destruction’ of the country and ‘the most undesirable consequences’.
The decision is a spectacular backfire for Putin who invaded Ukraine in part through fears of NATO expansion, with the Western pact’s presence on Russia’s borders now set to double from 754 miles to 1,584 miles.
A special committee will announce Finland’s decision on a membership bid on Sunday although it could take until October before the country is formally admitted to the pact.
When asked what he would say to Russia, Niinisto replied: ‘You caused this. Look in the mirror.’
Sweden is expected to follow Finland with its own bid which could come as soon as next week, with a parliament debate on Monday followed by a special cabinet meeting where the formal decision to apply will be taken, Daily Expressen said.
The major policy shift which completely rewrites Europe’s post WWII alignment comes a day after Boris Johnson signed security pacts with Helsinki and Stockholm pledging Britain would come to their aid if they come under Russian attack.
In their statement today, Niinisto and Marin said: ‘Now that the moment of decision-making is near, we state our equal views, also for information to the parliamentary groups and parties.
‘NATO membership would strengthen Finland’s security. As a member of NATO, Finland would strengthen the entire defence alliance.
‘Finland must apply for NATO membership without delay.
‘We hope that the national steps still needed to make this decision will be taken rapidly within the next few days.’
Finland, which shares an 830-mile border and a difficult past with Russia, has previously remained outside the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation to maintain friendly relations with its eastern neighbour.
Sweden is expected to imminently follow Finland with an application to join the Western military pact.
The Nordic nations have been rattled by Moscow’s war against its pro-Western neighbour, which has bolstered domestic support for joining the alliance – and the security that membership would provide.