UKRAINIAN soldiers “successfully” used British missiles yesterday in a fierce defense of their homeland against Vladimir Putin’s Russian offensive.
Several people fired man-portable guided missiles to help defend Kharkiv, the first major city to be attacked, where at least four Russian tanks were destroyed.
Three attack helicopters were also shot down as they overflew an airfield near Kiev, government sources said.
The UK sent Ukraine 2,000 New Generation Light Anti-Aircraft Guns (NLAW), and a squad of British Rangers trained soldiers on how to fire them.
Missiles with a range of 800 m can be launched from buildings and are considered ideal for combat operations in urban areas.
A senior Ukrainian source said of them: “They were used very successfully.”
UK officials declined to confirm if NLAW missiles were involved in the battle, but insisted the claims were credible.
US-made extended-range Javelin missiles were also used in the deadly firefight that continued last night as terrified residents cowered on the subway.
The battle began after Russian forces bombarded more than 80 targets with rockets, rockets and shells from the air before dawn.
During the day, The Sun saw columns of Ukrainian tanks, trucks, ambulances and artillery pieces maneuver in small groups to make them harder to hit.
One wounded soldier was comforted by his comrades who held his hands as the tanks passed by.
🔵 Read our Russia – Ukraine live blog for the latest updates
Overall, both sides suffered heavy casualties, with hundreds reported killed, including civilians and children.
At the air base in Kramatorsk, which was hit by Russian aircraft, the soldiers were shocked but defiant.
The group survived in a tiny, dirty underground bunker lined with wooden planks, like a World War I scene.
With them in the dark was a foster dog named Rocket.
Private Yevgeny, 23, said that the explosions during the attack on the command and control bunker, about 400 meters from their position, were so bright that they “were like daylight.”
He said: “In the first ten minutes, everything in my head was blank. I just acted automatically like a robot. Then everything became clear. Panic is the last thing you do in these situations.”
After the assault, the soldiers called their moms and dads to say they were still alive.
Eugene said: “We are fighting to protect our land and families. The Russians are fighting for nothing.”
Ukrainian soldiers also used American-made Stinger missiles provided by Latvia. They were used to defeat the Russian troops occupying Afghanistan.
They are believed to have been used to shoot down helicopters carrying Russian paratroopers attempting to seize the airfield at Gostomel, north of Kiev.
“Total resistance” from Ukraine
The Ukrainian military said yesterday the occupiers faced “total resistance” from their army when they showed photographs of captured Russian soldiers.
The photographs showed surrendered men with weapons on the floor and a red band around their arms and legs.
Army Commander Valery Zaluzhny shared a photo of two prisoners.
According to him, they were “Russian servicemen of military unit 91701 of the Yampolsky motorized rifle regiment.”
The other depicts a captured soldier Konstantin Buinichev, sitting with a bandaged hand.
The tank crew of four was forced to lie face down with their jackets pulled over their heads after the Ukrainian military seized an IFV in Luhansk near the eastern border.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said the assassination attempt was blocked. He continued, “Our troops have been ordered to destroy them.”
He told how queues formed in banks, pharmacies and gas stations all over Ukraine.
Flights have been halted, trains canceled and roads jammed as thousands have fled the cities for the relatively safe countryside.
President Zelensky said: “Russia has treacherously attacked our state. . . like Nazi Germany in World War II. Russia has embarked on the path of evil, but Ukraine is defending itself and will not give up its freedom, no matter what Moscow thinks.”
Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said: “Ukraine has both feet on the ground and continues to defend itself.”