The private, 46-year-old Sergei who wanted to be known only by his last name in line with military rules in the region, had left his bunker to smoke but had a breeze out his cigarette.
“I took one step around the wall to get out of the wind exactly when there was an explosion,” he said.
“If I hadn’t been trying to light my cigarette I’d be dead."
The dad-of-one, a Russian-born welder, was concussed by the 120mm artillery shell blast in Rubizhne, The Sun reports.
Rubizhne, a town in Ukraine's Luhansk region, is now under Russian control ( Image: REUTERS)
The city is now under Kremlin control.
Sergei signed up for his adopted homeland when the war began in February.
According to Sergei, Chechen forces loyal to their leader along with Putin stooge Ramzan Kadyrov had fought his men in street-to-street battles.
“They put their guns over compound walls and sprayed bullets,” he added.
“We were a few metres away. We threw grenades.”
A building destroyed during Ukraine-Russia conflict in the town of Rubizhne ( Image: REUTERS)
The soldier was dismissive of how difficult life was on the front line, saying it was “just like dangerous camping”.
“The hardest thing was the Russian bodies because they just left them,” he said.
News of the hero’s survival comes amid reports of Russian forces swarming into the neary city of Severodonetsk on Monday, bombing an area sheltering hundreds of civilians and mirroring the horror Mariupol assault.
Moscow’s troops now control about 70% of the key city, which sits northwest of Rubizhne.
A man holds a bicycle while standing near a building destroyed during Ukraine-Russia conflict in the town of Rubizhne in the Luhansk region ( Image: REUTERS)
Troops are reportedly trying to cut off around 500 locals sheltering in an industrial complex - just like Mariupol.
The assault on the ruined Luhanks city - whose toppling will mark a major Russian victory - underlined a desperate race for western weapons to get to Ukraine’s frontline.
Pro-Moscow separatists claimed the last bridge out of Severodonetsk had been destroyed and Ukrainian defenders there must now surrender or die.
Ukraine said there was still another way out via the city’s last remaining bridge although that route was severely damaged.
An armoured vehicle destroyed in the town of Rubizhne in the Luhansk region ( Image: REUTERS)
Ukraine has issued increasingly urgent calls for more Western weapons to help defend Severodonetsk, which Kyiv says is a battle for control of the eastern Donbas region.
Regional governor Sergei Gadai said:"The battles are so fierce that fighting for not just a street but for a single high-rise building can last for days.”
He said: "Russians continue to storm the city, having a significant advantage in artillery they have somewhat pushed back the Ukrainian soldiers.
Injured soldier Sergei pictured at a hospital in Dnipro, Ukraine, after his lucky escape ( Image: News Group Newspapers Ltd)
"About 500 civilians remain on the grounds of the Azot plant in Severodonetsk, 40 of them are children. Sometimes the military manages to evacuate someone.”
Ukraine's account of civilians trapped in an industrial plant echoed the fall of Mariupol last month, where hundreds of civilians and badly wounded Ukrainian soldiers were holed up for weeks.