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Dramatic moment Putin's column of tanks are destroyed by Ukrainian drones

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UKRAINE has destroyed one of Russia’s biggest mechanised charges since the start of the war – obliterating 12 tanks in a single day.

Dramatic footage captured how a column of 48 Russian tanks and fighting vehicles were targeted by a barrage of drones, missiles and artillery on Saturday in eastern Ukraine.

The moment a column of Russia tanks came under relentless fire from Ukraine's forces

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The moment a column of Russia tanks came under relentless fire from Ukraine’s forcesCredit: Twitter
Several tanks appeared to be wiped out in under a minute

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Several tanks appeared to be wiped out in under a minuteCredit: Twitter
Destroyed tanks and armoured vehicles littered the fields

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Destroyed tanks and armoured vehicles littered the fieldsCredit: Twitter
Ukraine halted the Russian advance in its tracks

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Ukraine halted the Russian advance in its tracksCredit: Twitter

For weeks, rumours had been bubbling of a renewed assault as Russia geared up its tanks, troops and equipment to storm Ukraine’s frontline north of Donetsk.

But Moscow’s 36 tanks and 12 armoured vehicles were no match for Ukraine’s defending forces led by the 25th Airborne Brigade.

Videos of the failed attack show how the ill-fated convoy travelling along one single road quickly became sitting ducks for highly-skilled Ukrainian drone operators, who were aided by a barrage of artillery and anti-tank missiles.

Together, they stopped the attack in its tracks – vaporising 12 tanks and eight armoured vehicles and scores of troops, a spokesman from Ukraine’s military told the Institute for the Study of War (ISW).

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With ruthless precision, the footage shows how Kyiv’s forces took out tank after tank, forcing the column to break apart and be picked off.

Artillery helped to scatter the vehicles while kamikaze drones appeared to have been used to strike individual, undefended vehicles.

Ukrainian mines and anti-tank missiles likely added to the carnage.

As the smoke cleared, drone footage revealed the carcasses of tanks and the bodies of Russian troops littering the muddy fields close to the village of Tonenke, eight miles west of Avdiivka.

The key eastern city fell to Russia in mid February after one of the bloodiest battles of the war so far, killing thousands on each side in an apocalyptic tussle for control.

It marked Russia’s biggest gain in nine months, though Ukraine claimed the costly win served to strategic advantage for Moscow.

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The capture of Avdiivka provided Russia with a security cushion for the city of Donetsk and prompted Vladimir Putin to boastfully pledge that Moscow‘s forces would make further advances.

Russia’s defence ministry last week said its forces had captured new villages outside Avdiivka.

However, Russia’s march westward was halted as Ukraine crippled its new mechanised assault led by Russia’s 90th Tank Division and 6th Armoured Regiment.

Ukrainian military spokesperson Dmytro Lykhoviy acknowledged the previous capture of two villages – but said their advance had now been thwarted.

The Russian convoy before Ukraine massacred it - defeating the Russian assault

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The Russian convoy before Ukraine massacred it – defeating the Russian assaultCredit: Twitter
Another tank exploding after a direct hit

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Another tank exploding after a direct hitCredit: Twitter
The burnt carcass of a Russian tank

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The burnt carcass of a Russian tankCredit: Twitter
The convoy was easy pickings for Ukrainian drone operators

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The convoy was easy pickings for Ukrainian drone operatorsCredit: Twitter

“In this hottest sector of the direct Russian assault, we are managing to stabilise the situation and the enemy’s advance has been halted,” he said.

“But our defence is holding,” Lykhoviy added. “The enemy is expending tremendous efforts but making no headway at all.”

The failed attack on Saturday marks a major feat for Ukraine that it could fend off such a large and heavily-armed force.

A drone-operator with the Ukrainian 36th Marine Brigade, known as “Kriegsforscher,” called the defeat “pure madness”.

“It’s the biggest amount of armour that was used in one charge since the beginning of the war,” he added.

It comes as Putin called up 150,000 Russian men to fight in his bloody war in Ukraine which has dragged into its third year, marking Russia’s highest-ever conscription drive in almost a decade.

The dictator seems to be ramping up his force to prepare for a feared spring offensive against Ukraine amid wavering Western support for Kyiv.

Meanwhile, fears are growing that a deluded Putin has his eyes set on the Baltics as western leaders fear he could pivot quickly and bring a new war to Europe.

A Ukrainian soldier prepares a kamikaze FPV drone near to Avdiivka

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A Ukrainian soldier prepares a kamikaze FPV drone near to AvdiivkaCredit: AP

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