RUSSIA’s heavily armed and armoured Terminator tanks have been pictured in combat for the first time as Vladimir Putin’s new offensive pushes into Ukraine.
The vehicles were pictured supporting a group of main battle tanks as the Russians push towards Bakhmut in the Donbas region .
And while Ukraine claims it has killed 30,000 soldiers and destroyed more than 1,000 tanks, the massive size of Moscow’s military is allowing them to begin to push back.
It was confirmed earlier this month that Russia had deployed its only unit of the Terminator tanks to the frontline for the first time – with around ten of them in service.
Pictures show the distinctive vehicles moving through a field as smoke billows around them from a mixture of tank shells and Ukrainian artillery fire raining down.
Terminator tanks are supposed to be one of Russia’s most advanced weapons systems as Putin attempts to portray his armed forces as some of the strongest in the world.
Bristling with supersonic anti-tank missiles which can hit targets nearly four miles away, two 30mm autocannons and grenade launchers – the Terminators appear to be fearsome weapons.
The twin autocannons can fire 600 rounds per minute – with one firing armour piercing rounds, and the other anti-personnel rounds.
The 53-ton, 23ft long, 1,000 horsepower behemoths are designed for fighting in cities as support tanks alongside the main armoured columns.
And the tanks are capable of hitting lightly-armoured enemy vehicles, other tanks and even helicopters and low-flying aircraft.
Terminators are also designed for the most hazardous warzones, having a sealed cabin protecting their crew from chemical attacks or radiation.
Ukrainian journalist Yuriy Butusov shared the photos as the armoured vehicles serving alongside the 90th tank and assault divisions of the Russian Army.
“In these photos of Ukrainian scouts Russian tanks and BMPT Terminator left high to bombard the area of the track, and then run away, coming under the shelling of Ukrainian artillery,” said Butusov.
“The opponent is focusing efforts on breaking through our defenses in the Bakhmut area and using their core operational reserves to do so.
“The situation remains difficult, the enemy tries with great powers to break through our defenses to create a new environment.”
It comes as today Ukraine’s hero leader President Volodymyr Zelensky visited the country’s war-ridden east for the first time since the Russian invasion.
He arrived in Kharkiv, one of the cities retaken by Ukraine as Russia retreated from their initial botched advance.
Zelensky’s office posted a video on Telegram of him wearing a bullet-proof vest and being shown heavily destroyed buildings in Kharkiv and its surroundings.
“2,229 buildings have been destroyed in Kharkiv and the region. We will restore, rebuild and bring back life. In Kharkiv and all other towns and villages where evil came,” the post said.
The Ukrainian leader has been based in Kyiv since Russian President Vladimir Putin launched his full-scale attack on February 24.
“In this war, the occupiers are trying to squeeze out at least some result,” Zelensky said in a later post.
“But they should have understood long ago that we will defend our land to the last man. They have no chance. We will fight and we will definitely win.”
He also met local officials — the governor of Khariv region and the mayor of the city — to discuss reconstruction programs for the region.
He called on them to “find cool projects” to rebuild destroyed areas.
“This is a chance for such districts to have a new face,” Zelensky said.
Russia has now believed to have lost a total of 30,000 soldiers along with thousands of vehicles in Putin’s disastrous war, according to Ukraine.
Vlad’s forces had expected to be met with waving flags when they first crossed the border for the invasion in February.
But instead they were met by heroic resistance and found themselves being thrown back as the Russians grow increasingly frustrated.
It sparked fears that Putin could resort to even more brutal tactics – with widespread reports of war crimes being committed by his forces against civilians.
However, Putin’s ambassador to the UK today insisted they would not use a tactical nuclear weapon in Ukraine.