UKRAINE has wiped out 200 Russian paratroopers in a missile strike on a base in occupied territory, local officials have claimed.
Explosions reportedly shook the Russian-occupied city of Kadiivka in Luhansk, eastern Ukraine, early on Friday morning.
Pictures shared by Euromaidan Press show the smouldering wreckage of a hotel being used as a barracks and headquarters by Putin's forces.
The head of Luhansk Oblast Serhii Haidai claims 200 Russian paratroopers died in the attack on the Hotel Donbas.
Those killed were reportedly from the Russian Elite Airborne unit.
He wrote on Twitter: "The Armed Forces of Ukraine hit battlements in occupied Kadiiva, about 200 Russian paratroopers were killed."
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Writing on Facebook, he added: "In the temporarily occupied Kadiivka, Luhansk region, Ukrainian soldiers destroyed the base of the Russians they equipped at the hotel 'Donbass'.
"200 military airborne troops of the Russian Federation eliminated."
These claims haven't been independently verified, but pro-Russian Telegram channels have stated that the hotel was "chock-full" before the shelling.
Russian media claims that Ukraine fired 10 HIMARS missiles on Friday morning.
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The Russian army has been using the hotel as a base since the first invasion of Ukraine in 2014.
The alleged strike comes as Russia's disastrous invasion of Ukraine reaches its six-month anniversary.
Almost 46,000 Russian soldiers are reported to have died since the start of the conflict, according to Ukrainian sources, although Russia disputes these figures.
The Russian progression has largely stalled, but Vlad's troops still control territory along Ukraine's Black Sea and Sea of Azov coasts.
Fighting continues in the eastern provinces of Donetsk and Luhansk, known as the Donbas.
It comes as Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky claims Europe was "one step away" from disaster after a nuclear plant was removed from the power grid by Russia.
Zelensky said a Chernobyl-style catastrophe was narrowly averted after shelling by Vladimir Putin's forces caused fires that led to the plant's electricity supply being disconnected.
About 200 Russian paratroopers were killed
Fire damage to overhead power lines caused the last two reactors at the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant (ZNPP) to be cut off but staff quickly activated diesel generators.
"Russia has put Ukraine and all Europeans in a situation one step away from a radiation disaster," President Zelensky said in his nightly address on Thursday.
"If our station staff had not reacted after the blackout, then we would have already been forced to overcome the consequences of a radiation accident."
Ukraine's state nuclear company Energoatom said one reactor at the plant has now been reconnected to the Ukrainian grid and was again supplying the country with electricity.
Russian troops are still stationed at Zaporizhzhia, just metres away from the plant's nuclear reactors.
The pictures, shared by the UK's Ministry of Defence, show Russian armoured personnel carriers and military cargo trucks just 60 metres from reactor five of the six-reactor nuke plant in Zaporizhzhia, southern Ukraine.
"On 21 August 2022, imagery indicated that Russia maintained an enhanced military presence at the [Zaporizhzhia] site, with armoured personnel carriers deployed within 60 metres of reactor number five," the MoD said.
"Russian troops were probably attempting to conceal the vehicles by parking them under overhead pipes and gantries."
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It went on: "Russia is probably prepared to exploit any Ukrainian military activity near [Zaporizhzhia] for propaganda purposes.
"While Russia maintains the military occupation of [the plant], the principal risks to reactor operations are likely to remain disruption to the reactors' cooling systems, damage to its backup power supply, or errors by workers operating under pressure."
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