The Ukrainian soldier gave his name simply as “Viktor” and on Saturday he felt victorious, showing reporters a Russian armoured vehicle destroyed by a British anti-tank missile.
Russia’s advance into Kyiv’s western suburbs had paused, and in a break in the fighting Viktor showed off his NLAW anti-tank missile system and a bloodied Russian helmet.
“This one was shot from this beautiful thing,” he said, walking to the twisted remains of the vehicle. “And I want to say a big thank you to our British comrades helping us.”
The British government says it has delivered 3,615 NLAW anti-tank weapons to Ukrainian forces fighting the Russian invasion, and it is one of Kyiv’s most advanced systems.
As Russia’s armoured units move in on the capital and other Ukrainian cities, they often fall victim to ambushes from these and other missiles supplied by NATO powers.
A short distance from the destroyed Russian vehicle, Viktor showed AFP a military coat he said had been abandoned by a fleeing tank driver.
Earlier he had held up a bloodied helmet close to a corpse in Russian uniform, face down in a wooded area of Irpin, a commuter suburb on the outskirts of Kyiv.
Ukrainian authorities are evacuating Irpin and neighbouring Bucha of civilians after many were killed trying to flee from the frontline shelling.
But Russian forces have not managed to fully encircle the capital, and several armoured columns have been badly damaged as their offensive loses momentum.
“Currently, the Armed Forces of Ukraine control most of the city,” Viktor said.
The Russian forces, he said, “are scattered around the city, hiding in the residential sector, destroying their own machinery.
“Sooner or later, I personally believe that in the near future, we will kick them all back to the border,” he declared.