Russia claims first British Challenger 2 tank has been destroyed under artillery fire in Ukraine

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  • The MoD has until now claimed the tank has ‘never suffered losses’ in combat 

Russian sources today claimed to have the first evidence of a destroyed British-supplied Challenger 2 tank in Ukraine.

A video circulating online appears to show one of the 82nd Air Assault Brigade’s former main battle tanks on fire near Robotyne, Zaporizhzhia Oblast.

The footage is shot from a Ukrainian vehicle with a cracked windscreen, driving past the wreckage of an armoured vehicle as plumes of black smoke spill out.

Pro-war channel Grey Zone reported: ‘It seems to be the first documented destroyed British Challenger 2 tank in service with the Armed Forces of Ukraine.’

There was no independent confirmation of the Russian claim about the burning tank, nor its location and timing. 

The shaky footage was shot from a Ukrainian vehicle driving past the wreckage of a tank

The shaky footage was shot from a Ukrainian vehicle driving past the wreckage of a tank

Fire and black smoke surround the burnt-out wreckage of an armoured vehicle in Ukraine

Fire and black smoke surround the burnt-out wreckage of an armoured vehicle in Ukraine

Britain initially supplied 14 of its Challenger 2 tanks to Ukraine, and then doubled the number to 28, it announced in May.

READ MORE: After months of deadlock, Ukraine’s counter-offensive against the Russian invaders is finally paying off, writes MARK GALEOTTI 

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The Ministry of Defence website describes the Challenger 2 as ‘a main battle tank, designed to destroy other tanks’.

It has been used in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo and Iraq and, according to the MoD, ‘has never experienced a loss at the hands of the enemy’.

Russian Telegram channel Military Informant wrote after the footage emerged this week: ‘It seems that the British Ministry of Defence will have to change the description of the Challenger on its official website.’

The 82nd Air Assault Brigade was reported to have entered the battlefield for the first time only last month after receiving modifications to help defend against drone strikes.

Mesh cages were welded on top of the tanks to help reduce the damage caused by munitions dropped from drones. 

The 82nd, arguably Ukraine’s most powerful brigade, held back for six weeks before joining the push to retake the occupied south.

Towards the end of August, the brigade gave Ukrainian forces the leverage needed to liberate Robotyne from the Russians.

Russian sources have acknowledged the Challenger 2s were being used in the south of Ukraine to help break the stalemate around Zaporizhzhia, a region which has seen intense fighting since the start of the war.

The pro-war channel Rybar said the burnt-out tank seen this week was ‘on the western outskirts of Verbove [where] enemy assault groups are trying to gain a foothold’, adding: ‘And, quite likely, British tanks were used to break through the defences, where they were covered by artillery.

‘This again confirms the thesis that the Challengers, Leopards and Abrams are all equipment that can and should be destroyed.’

A Challenger 2 main battle tank, which saw service in Bosnia, Kosovo and Iraq before Ukraine

A Challenger 2 main battle tank, which saw service in Bosnia, Kosovo and Iraq before Ukraine

A British Challenger 2 tank pictured in service with Ukrainian armed forces this year

A British Challenger 2 tank pictured in service with Ukrainian armed forces this year

There was no independent confirmation of the Russian claim about the burning tank, nor its location and timing.

The retreating Ukrainian troops do not name the type of tank.

Separate footage shows the Challenger 2 deployed by the Ukrainian armed forces in the war zone.

MailOnline contacted the Ministry of Defence for comment. 




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