'Shoot it, shoot it!' Conservative MP's ex-Royal Marine son fighting in Ukraine 'is among team of US and British volunteers seen destroying Russian tank with a missile'
A Conservative MP's former Royal Marine son has been found to be part of a foreign volunteer team which took down a Russian transporter during a dramatic battle in Ukraine.
The BTR was badly damaged and exploded following attacks from what appeared to be American, British and potentially Canadian volunteers, with Ben Grant, 30, among the heroic team, according to the i paper.
He is the son of Helen Grant, who is the Conservative MP for Maidstone and The Weald. MailOnline has reached out to Ms Grant's office for comment.
Video shared on social media showed the group of soldiers face off with the armoured carrier.
After being hit by the foreign volunteers' launchers, the BTR - understood to be Russian - was reportedly damaged by unfired ammunition exploding.
The incredible bodycam footage shows the 30-year-old preparing to take out one of Vladimir Putin’s BTR armoured vehicles from a forest on the frontline.
The clip shows a squad of approximately four men, which included British and American special forces veterans, sneaking through the undergrowth before Mr Grant is heard shouting: ‘Shoot now!’
As volunteers get ready to launch the missile, he warns: ‘Mind the back-blast.’
Another fighter is then heard frantically shouting, ‘It’s facing towards us’.
Another soldier then fired his launcher - which users on Twitter have identified as a RGW-90 HH - and got a hit in.
As a fierce gun battle erupts, one volunteer shouts ‘Pull back!’ and the group retreat back into the undergrowth.
Drone footage then shows the successful hit – with the armoured vehicle smouldering after the explosion.
Bits of shrapnel could be seen flying off the vehicle.
Twitter account Ukraine Weapons Tracker - posted the clips with the caption: 'Foreign Volunteers (American, British, and possibly Canadian) targeted a Russian BTR-80 APC with a RGW-90 HH launcher, damaging it and causing ammo to cook off.
'Note that a Czech RPG-75M appears to fail to function correctly.'
Mr Grant was on a 15-hour operation in the north east of the country, supported by 14 Ukrainian troops.
He left for Ukraine in March, joining a number of Brits who were heading to aid in the country's war efforts.
He served in the elite corps for more than five years as a commando, was among a group of seven ex-servicemen to arrive in the besieged country on the weekend.
The father of three, a veteran of Afghanistan, said his decision to leave to fight was made without the knowledge of his mother, who represents Maidstone and is Boris Johnson's special envoy on girls' education.
'I haven't been sent, nothing to do with the Government, nothing to do with my mother,' he told the Guardian. 'Just want to make that clear, completely off my own back, I decided to do this. I didn't even tell my mum, but it is what it is.'
Mr Grant quit the Royal Marines after admitting to assaulting two men in a nightclub after they shouted racial slurs - with a judge sparing him from immediate punishment due to him being provoked.
Also fighting in Ukraine is grandfather Robert Grady, 61, a former member of Hibernian FC's hooligan firm Capital City Service during the early 1980s.
The father of one - who received a year-long football banning order in 2014 after a brawl before the Scottish Challenge Cup - featured in a recent propaganda video wielding an assault rifle alongside two fellow fighters.
'I've travelled to Ukraine to help Ukraine fight the Russians,' he said. 'I'll do anything I can in my power to save Ukraine from Putin, everybody in the world please help Ukraine.' In another message posted from the frontline, he wrote: 'I intend to kill as many as I can.'
It comes as Russia's armed forces have begun deploying sixty-year-old tanks to the southeastern regions of Ukraine, raising questions over the extent of Putin's losses after three months of bitter fighting and countless strategic blunders.
A long line of T-62 tanks, which began production as early as 1961, was photographed at a train station in Ukraine's southeastern city of Melitopol on Wednesday, just days after footage emerged of the aged armour being pulled out of storage across the border.
Russia has around 2,900 of its more modern T-90, T-80 and T-72 tanks currently in service, according to the International Institute for Security Studies, with up to 10,000 more tanks from different generations in storage.
But the Land Forces of Ukraine estimate more than 1,300 of Russia's tanks have been destroyed or heavily damaged since the invasion began on February 24, at least 700 of which have been visually confirmed according to open source intelligence analyst Oryx.
And of the 10,000 tanks waiting in storage, many of them are likely to be inoperable due to Russia's harsh and varied climate and poor long-term maintenance.
Putin's deployment of his armoured relics comes as his forces are locked in a brutal and bloody conflict along the eastern front of Ukraine.
Russian troops yesterday launched an all-out offensive to capture Severodonetsk and Lysychansk - the only urban centres still under Ukrainian control in the Luhansk region.
'Extremely fierce fighting is taking place on the outskirts of Severodonetsk. They are simply destroying the city, they are shelling it every day, shelling without pause,' Luhansk regional governor Sergei Gaidai said yesterday.
The mayor of Severodonetsk Oleksandr Stryuk said the city is holding out for now, but added at least 1,500 people have been killed and 60 per cent of residential buildings have been destroyed.
But Russia's painstakingly-slow progress in Luhansk has come at a huge cost.
As of this morning, the Land Forces of Ukraine estimate almost 30,000 Russian soldiers have been killed in the conflict thus far - losses which prompted Russia's parliament on Wednesday to scrap the upper age limit for people signing up to join the army.
Russia's deployment of T-62 tanks to southwestern Ukraine is puzzling.
Designed in the late 1950s, the T-62 had already grown obsolete by the mid-70s and was relegated to reserve duty in favour of the improved T-64 and T-72 models.
Some T-64s underwent combat upgrades in the later years before the collapse of the Soviet Union and were retrofitted with improved armour and weapons systems.
But Ukraine's Armed Forces - equipped with modern anti-tank weapons such as Javelin launchers and Bayraktar TB-2 drones - have already made short work of Russia's most combat-capable tanks, as evidenced by countless images of wreckage littering the streets of eastern Ukraine.
The T-62's slow speed, short range, poor maneuverability and obsolete parts in comparison to the more modern T-90s and T-80s mean the Russian troops operating them would be obliterated should the sixty-year-old vehicles be deployed to the front lines.
As a result, analysts have speculated the T-62s may be used in a support capacity for crowd control and reinforcement in the territories already occupied by Russia such as Mariupol, Kherson, and Melitopol, where the tanks were first pictured arriving on Ukrainian soil.
But the T-62 is notoriously prone to breaking down, have half the range of modern tanks and use different parts to their successors, making them challenging to maintain.
Their deployment therefore suggests Russia's armed forces are not willing to commit any of its more modern tanks in reserve to such support roles, highlighting the scale of their losses on the front lines.
Ukrainian Deputy Defence Minister Ganna Malyar told journalists yesterday that fighting in the east had reached 'its maximum intensity' since Russia invaded on February 24.
Pro-Moscow separatist groups have since 2014 controlled parts of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions known as the Donbas, but Russia now appears set on taking the whole region.
'Enemy forces are storming the positions of our troops simultaneously in several directions. We have an extremely difficult and long stage of fighting ahead of us,' Malyar said.
Western military analysts see the battle for the urban centres of Severodonetsk and Lysychansk in western Luhansk as a possible turning point in the war after a shift in momentum towards Russia following the surrender of Ukraine's garrison in Mariupol last week.
Having lost thousands of troops in scattered fighting along the eastern front in recent weeks, Russian forces yesterday launched a targeted assault from three sides to try to encircle Ukrainian forces in Severodonetsk and Lysychansk.
If the two cities straddling the Siversky Donets river fall, nearly all of the Donbas province of Luhansk would be under Russian control.
The Russian advance was backed by massive artillery bombardment across as many as 50 towns in Donetsk and Luhansk to force Ukrainian troops to retreat, according to officials, leading Zelensky to request further Western aid in the form of more missile systems and long-range weaponry.
'We are fighting for Ukraine to be provided with all the weapons needed to change the nature of the fighting and start moving faster and more confidently toward the expulsion of the occupiers,' Zelensky said in his nightly video address to the nation.
He said Russian forces are wiping some eastern towns from the face of the Earth and the region could end up 'uninhabited.'
'They want to turn Popasna, Bakhmut, Lyman, Lysychansk and Severodonetsk into ashes as they did with Volnovakha and Mariupol,' Zelensky said.
Ukraine's foreign minister Dmytro Kuleba meanwhile tweeted: 'We need more heavy weapons delivered as soon as possible, especially MLRS (multiple launch rocket systems) to repel Russian attacks.'
Zelensky also said Russia had resumed shelling of second city Kharkiv yesterday, reporting at least nine people had been killed and 19 wounded.