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Video seems to show destroyed Western Challenger-2 tank in Ukraine — it would be the first time one has ever been taken out

Side-by-side screenshots from video on social media uploaded September 4, 2023, showing what seems to be the burning remains of a Challenger-2 tank in Ukraine.@UAweapons/X

A video circulating Tuesday appears to show a destroyed Challenger-2 tank in Ukraine.

If confirmed, it would be the first time the tank has been destroyed, and a symbolic win for Russia.

The elite 82nd Air Assault Brigade was supplied with 14 of the tanks and is operating in the south.

Footage appears to show a destroyed Challenger-2 tank in Ukraine, left burning in a field as part of the counteroffensive against Russia.

The Challenger-2 is a British tank, and the 14 Ukraine received in a recent aid package are among its strongest Western-donated weapons.

The apparent destruction — seized upon quickly by jubilant Russians when it began to spread Tuesday — would be the first time a Challenger-2 has even been destroyed on the battlefield.

In the video, shot from a moving car, the wreck of a ruined armored vehicle can be seen engulfed in dark smoke on the roadside.

Open-source tracking project Ukraine Weapons Tracker identified the remains as a Challenger-2, in a post that was re-shared by Oryx, another such project.

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The loss has not been officially confirmed, and representatives for Ukraine’s Ministry of Defense did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.

Two further vehicles — identified as a Soviet-era T-64BV tank and two infantry mobility vehicles by Ukraine Weapons Tracker — can also be seen damaged or destroyed in the footage.

The footage was identified as being taken near the town of Robotyne, Zaporizhzhia, which Ukrainian forces have recently recaptured.

The unit fighting there — the 82nd Air Assault Brigade — was supplied with a wealth of armor, including all 14 donated Challenger-2 tanks, according to leaked documents seen by Politico. The elite force was deployed in the counteroffensive in August, and quickly made its impact felt.

Nonetheless, the apparent tank loss would be a symbolic hit for Russia, given the Challenger-2’s status as an undefeated platform. The UK-made tank has been used in Bosnia, Iraq and Kosovo, but has never been destroyed in battle.

“This tank is like a sniper rifle among tanks,” a Ukrainian soldier proudly said, in a recent Ukrainian Ministry of Defense video showcasing the vehicle. Ukrainian forces completed their training on the tank in the UK in March.

That said, it has also never faced an adversary as strong as Russia.

Following several losses early in the counteroffensive, Ukraine has largely been holding its heavy armor in reserve and is opting to painstakingly move through Russia’s defenses on foot, supported by artillery fire.

Russian media has widely celebrated the apparent loss. A wealth of chatter on pro-Russian social media platforms was followed by top television propagandist, Vladimir Solovyov, saying: “The Challenger 2 tank hasn’t passed the challenge of the Russian Armed Forces,” per the translation of BBC Monitoring’s Francis Scarr.

Read the original article on Business Insider