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Amateur video shows a donkey parasailing in southern Russia. ((Youtube))

Authorities in Russia are opening an animal cruelty investigation into a weekend stunt on a beach in southern Russia in which a donkey parasailed high over the surf.

Amateur video footage showed men attaching a parasail harness to the trembling donkey.

The English-language Kremlin news channel Russia Today reported that sunbathers were distressed at the sight of the flying donkey, which brayed in fear as it glided above the bay for half an hour. 

Video

Watch the donkey parasailing video.

The donkey was shell-shocked but survived.

Reports said the donkey flight was a promotional stunt.

Employees of a leisure firm in the Krasnodar region village of Golubitskaya, on the Azov Sea, could face two years in prison if they are charged and convicted of animal cruelty.