This is the terrifying moment a lion suddenly attacked a circus trainer in front of a large audience of children and parents.
The crowd screamed in fear as well-known performer Hamada Kouta was overpowered by the irate animal which sank its teeth into his arm and clawed him.
The video shows the 32-year-old trainer being floored by the big cat which suddenly turned aggressive in the ring. His arm, leg and back were mauled and clawed.
The attack took place midway through a circus performance in Lugansk, a city in eastern Ukraine.
The animal finally retreated out of the cage but it left the audience stunned. A mother watching with her two children said: "My heart stopped when the lion pounced at the trainer."
Hamada Kouta in action. Credit: East2West News
After the attack, Kouta said: "I called up one lion, and the second one attacked me from the front. I stopped him in the middle of the ring calmed him down but he refused to return to his sitting position.
"I stepped backwards, there was a stand behind me, I hit it and fell. The lion jumped at me and bit me - but thank God not on my neck.
"He immediately let me go. My back, arm and leg were hurt. Scars from two claws and one tooth are on my leg, tooth marks on my arm, one four centimetres (one and a half inches) deep from three claws on my back." Well, that's what you get when you play with lions.
Hamada Kouta's injuries. Credit: East2West News
He works with ten lions and all those in the ring returned to their cages immediately after the shocking attack, he said.
"I calmly called them back, because there were children in the audience. The most important thing for me is to see children in the audience.
"Of course, I was covered in blood, but I asked everybody to calm down, and started the performance all over again, from the beginning."
Kouta claims that his troupe of lions were unsettled because they were made to perform soon after arriving in a new location.
The moment the lion attacked Hamada Kouta. Credit: East2West News
"They did not have time to adapt, because we arrived and immediately began to perform," he said.
"They were in stress, so it led to attack. They can be moody, like people. For example, you can wake up in the morning in the bad mood. That's it, the whole day will be like this. They are just the same."
Kouta added: "Every scar is an experience. I trust my predators more than people. People are the most dangerous creatures.
"You can talk to a person, be friends with him, and then you turn your back to him and he stabs you. Predators are different, they are serious, they never cheat."
Something tells me Kouta has just had bad experiences with humans.
Kouta puts the attack down to a new environment. Credit: East2West News
"But there is a red line, if you step over - it may go wrong way. When an animal attacks a trainer, it is 99 per cent the trainer's mistake.
"Anyway, they are my children, so I know anything can happen. But it will never end with death, because they are my children. I know them and I trust them more than I trust people.
"It was all right, I calmed down the spectators and we went on. Of course, I became lame, it hurts everywhere, because these are teeth.
"One tooth was inside the muscle, right there and it is serious, and down it is serious too, but it's okay.
Travelling circuses were recently banned in Ukrainian capital Kiev but Lugansk is currently outside Kiev's rule.
Featured Image Credit: East2West News