A group of Russian troops have been blown up by their own mines after responding to a prank call from Ukrainians leading them to a booby-trapped home, officials claimed.
The soldiers on patrol in Mariupol received reports that Azov fighters were hiding out in a home on the outskirts of the city, the Mariupol mayor’s office said on Telegram.
The troops quickly raced to the house hoping to find the paramilitary fighters, whose comrades fiercely defended the city and its steelworks earlier in the war until they were eventually captured by Putin‘s forces.
But the naive Russians arrived at the property there were no enemy soldiers to be found, with pro-Ukrainian partisans behind the fake call.
They were then blown up by mines that their own soldiers had set, which had been forgotten about but spotted by Ukrainians who then used them to their advantage.
A group of Russian troops have been blown up by their own mines after responding to a prank call from Ukrainians (pictured: Ukrainian servicemen fire a Polish 155 mm self-propelled tracked gun-howitzer Krab in Donetsk)
According to the mayor’s office, one soldier was killed and another lost his leg and remains in a Donetsk hospital after the attack early yesterday morning.
It marks a rare victory for Ukraine in Mariupol which has been captured by Russians and was subjected to devastating bombardment throughout the war, with its residents forced to hide underground without food, water or electricity for months.
Elsewhere today, at least four people have been killed as Russian shelling hit the centre of Ukraine’s second city of Kharkiv, the regional governor said.
‘The Russian occupiers shelled the central districts of Kharkiv,’ Oleg Synegubov said on Telegram, giving a toll of four dead and another four injured and warning residents to ‘stay inside the shelters’.
Volodymyr Zelensky has urged Russian troops to flee for their lives as his forces launched their offensive, though Russia said the assault had failed.
A woman walks past a damaged administrative building in the center of Kharkiv after a Russian rocket
In his nightly address late on Monday, he vowed that Ukrainian troops would chase the Russian army ‘to the border’.
‘If they want to survive – it’s time for the Russian military to run away. Go home,’ he said.
‘Ukraine is taking back its own,’ Zelenskiy said.
Oleksiy Arestovych, a senior adviser to Zelenskiy, commenting on the offensive in the Kherson region, said Russian defences had been ‘broken through in a few hours’.
Ukrainian forces were shelling ferries that Russia was using to supply a pocket of territory on the west bank of the Dnipro river in the Kherson region, he added.
Britain’s defence ministry said Ukrainian forces had increased their artillery fire across the south and their long-range precision strikes were disrupting Russian resupplies.
Firefighters work to extinguish a fire after a Russian attack that heavily damaged a building in Sloviansk
Ukraine’s Suspilne public broadcaster reported explosions in the Kherson area on Tuesday and city residents reported in social media posts gunfire and explosions but said it was not clear who was firing.
Ukraine’s military general staff, in an early Tuesday update, reported clashes in various parts of the country but gave no information on the Kherson offensive.
Russia’s defence ministry said Ukrainian troops had attempted an offensive in the Mykolaiv and Kherson regions but sustained significant casualties, RIA news agency reported.
The ‘enemy’s offensive attempt failed miserably’, it said.
But a Ukrainian barrage of rockets left the Russian-occupied town of Nova Kakhovka without water or power, officials at the Russian-appointed authority told RIA news agency.
Reuters could not verify the battlefield reports.
Russian shelling of the port city of Mykolaiv, which has remained in Ukrainian hands despite repeated Russian bombardments, killed at least two people, wounded some 24 and wiped out homes, city officials and witnesses said on Monday.
A Reuters correspondent reported a strike hit a family home directly next to a school, killing one woman.
Oleksandr Shulga looks at his destroyed house following a missile strike in Mykolaiv
The owner of the property, Olexandr Shulga, said he had lived there his entire life and that his wife died when she was buried in debris. ‘It hit and the shockwave came. It destroyed everything,’ he said.
The Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in Ukraine’s south, captured by Russian troops in March but still manned by Ukrainian staff, has been a hotspot in the conflict with both sides trading blame for shelling in the vicinity.
Russian-installed authorities accused Ukrainian troops of firing two shells that exploded near a spent fuel storage building at the plant, TASS news agency reported. There was no immediate comment from the Ukrainian side.
A mission from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) is headed to the facility, Europe’s largest nuclear plant, and is due later this week to inspect and assess any damage.
Led by IAEA chief Rafael Grossi, the mission will evaluate working conditions and check safety and security systems, the Vienna-based organisation said.
It will also ‘perform urgent safeguards activities’, a reference to keeping track of nuclear material.
A top Russian diplomat said Moscow hoped the mission would dispel misconceptions about the plant’s allegedly poor state.
The Kremlin said the IAEA mission was ‘necessary’ and urged the international community to press Ukraine to reduce military tension at the plant. The mission must do its work in a politically neutral manner, Russia’s foreign ministry said.
The United Nations, United States and Ukraine have called for the withdrawal of military equipment and personnel from the complex to ensure it is not a target.
The Kremlin has ruled out abandoning the site.