A mountain of MISSILE reveals the scale of Russia’s deadly bombardment in Ukraine.
Evidence of the massacre is a 15-foot-tall pile of rockets, missiles and bombs collected from homes and gardens, dug up from streets and children’s playgrounds.
The Sun spent two days with the heroes bomb squad in Kharkiv, which suffered the worst bombardment of any city outside of Mariupol.
Brave bomb disposal experts responded to 3,200 calls, more than double the capital Kyiv and the bombing of Mykolaiv.
Three of their comrades were killed and four seriously injured when a fragmentation rocket exploded as they tried to move it.
The mutilated ordnance mountain includes indiscriminate Tornado, Smerch, Uragan and Grad rockets, as well as Iskander guided ballistic missiles and Kalibr cruise missiles.
In a single morning, Lt. Col. Ihor Ovcharuk’s four-man team recovered:
- PART of a 25ft Tornado-S missile in the patio of Dr. Kateryna Mehamud;
- THE REMNANTS of four Grad rockets that ripped off the walls and roof of Sergei Sereda’s house;
- PART of an unguided Uragan missile from a children’s playground;
- FOUR other graduates at three locations.
A pilot’s house in Kulynychi was hit by a Grads barrage. One buried in the lawn exploded underground, creating a 6ft cave which the owners only discovered when a sinkhole appeared two weeks later.
In the Saltivka district, where families have taken shelter for months underground, a Grad was found in the attic of a burnt-out 15-storey building.
Unguided rockets, fired from truck-mounted launchers, may be equipped with prohibited fragmentation mines.
Lt. Col. Ovcharuk, 42, said they broke before impact and scattered smaller bombs, including anti-tank and anti-personnel ticking mines.
He added: “The worst are the anti-tank mines. These are the hardest to secure.
He cruises daily around Kharkiv in a truck with Alex Humenchak, 38, Volodymir Herynenko, 43, and Vladislav Shapobal, 26.
The sides of the vehicle are pockmarked with holes and the passenger window has been blown out.
They have only had one day off, Orthodox Easter Sunday, since Vladimir Putin unleashed his bloodbath on February 24.
By mid-April, more than 300 people had died in Kharkiv from Russian rockets, including more than 200 civilians. Another 964 civilians and 513 soldiers were injured.
The bomb disposal team said the mountain of missiles was only part of their loot.
Alex said: “These are all safe with no explosives. If there are intact anti-tank mines, we give them to our soldiers. Everything else, fragmentation mines, explosives, we have to keep them separate and destroy them.
In a secret location, we saw them detonate 2.7 tons of explosives, including white phosphorus bombs. He sent dirt and shrapnel skyward – to cheers from the team.
But it was a chilling reminder of the dangers they face. Lieutenant Colonel Ovcharuk shrugged: “We are still afraid, but you have to be to do our job.”