Dramatic moment Russian 'Z' tank is hunted down and blown to bits as desperate crew try to flee

DRAMATIC drone video shows a Russian Z tank being blown to bits as its desperate crew run for their lives.

At least five fireball blasts hit the war machine after it was hunted down by Ukrainian defenders in a city street.

It is the latest of hundreds of tanks and armoured cars that Ukraine claims to have destroyed during Putin's stalled invasion.

The high definition footage – thought to be filmed on a commercial drone in besieged Mariupol – was shared on Telegram channels.

It shows a battle tank with a distinctive Z marking driving through deserted streets and rounding a corner past buildings.

Suddenly it is shaken by a blast which sends a puff of grey smoke billowing from inside.

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The tank grinds to a halt 20 yards down the road, where it is hit by a bigger explosion and orange flames.

A crewman in the gun turret opens the escape hatch as the driver throws the 40-ton machine into reverse.

Russian soldiers can then be seen clambering out and fleeing on foot as it is hit three more times, possibly by rocket-propelled grenades.

One injured crewman is seen crawling away on the side of the road as a sixth explosion throws debris over the wreck.

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The drone camera zooms out to reveal a second Z tank has been hit and is on fire a short distance away.

Ukraine's armed forces have gleefully posted footage of scorched Russian armour online after three weeks of fierce battles.

Yesterday another drone video showed a tank crossing a snowy stream before being hit by a missile that blows it to smithereens.

And Call Of Duty style video from a Ukrainian gunner's aiming screen showed him peppering a Z tank with explosive shells.

Kyiv claims its forces have killed or captured 13,000 Russian troops so far, and destroyed nearly 200 aircraft, 400 tanks and 2,000 other vehicles.

All you need to know about Russia’s invasion of Ukraine

Everything you need to know about Russia’s invasion of Ukraine…

  • Why is Russia invading Ukraine?
  • Will the UK go to war?
  • How can I join the Ukraine foreign legion?
  • What can I do to help Ukraine?
  • Who is Ukraine's president Volodymyr Zelenskyy?
  • How much gas does the UK get from Russia?
  • Is Russia a part of Nato?
  • Does Russia have nuclear weapons?
  • Why is Ukraine not in Nato?
  • How big is the Russian army?
  • What is Article 5 of the Nato treaty?
  • What is the Minsk agreement?
  • Which countries were in the Soviet Union?
  • What does the Z mean on Russian tanks? Meaning behind symbols explained

Vladimir Putin is said to be raging at the disastrous invasion, which he expected to be over inside a fortnight.

His forces have turned to bombing civilians in cities such as Mariupol, where city authorities say 80 per cent of buildings are damaged and thousands are dead.

Yesterday a theatre in Mariupol was destroyed by Russian bombs while up to 1,200 people sheltered inside.

It was targeted even though the word "children" was painted in huge letters outside to alert Russian pilots.

Today rescuers said at least some of the women and children taking refuge in the basement had survived, but casualty figures are unknown.

Mariupol also saw a sickening air strike on a maternity hospital, which even Putin's own soldiers condemned as "the most perverse form of neo-Nazism".

Elsewhere yesterday at least 53 civilians were killed by Russian shelling in the northern city Chernihiv, officials said.

They included ten people who were reportedly massacred while queuing for bread.

Early today at least one civilian was killed when a downed Russian missile hit an apartment block in Kyiv.

And there was a fresh bombardment overnight in strategic port Odessa ahead of a feared amphibious assault.

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Joe Biden called Putin a "war criminal" last night as he pledged hundreds of millions of dollars more aid.

In another blow for the Kremlin tyrant, the paratrooper son of his KGB pal was reportedly killed in battle in Ukraine.

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