Russian army destroyed the first UK Challenger 2 tank in Ukraine?

A video of a burning tank is circulating on social media Telegram and Twitter early this morning, September 5. Posts under the shared video claim it is the first destroyed British Challenger 2 tank delivered to Ukraine.

“Burning Challenger 2” can be seen at the very bottom of the video footage captured. It is very difficult to tell from just a few seconds of video if this is really a Challenger 2. Even if you do a freeze frame it is not clear if the burning machine is the British tank. The reason is that the burning tank is engulfed in flames and only its gun is clearly visible.

The Twitter account OSINTtechnical, which monitors what is happening on the battlefield in Ukraine, also posted a tweet saying that the “first Challenger 2” tank was destroyed in Ukraine. According to this tweet, the “burning tank” was recorded in the Robotyne area – the site of heated battles in recent weeks. OSINTtechnical as well as other Twitter and Telegram accounts claim that the tank is part of the 82nd Air Assault Brigade.

Where are the Challenger 2 tanks?

Not so long ago, a query emerged from the British Daily Express concerning the whereabouts of the Challenger 2 tanks, which were dispatched from London and destined for Kyiv. The anticipated deployment of these British Challenger 2 tanks in the ongoing conflict in Ukraine remains, up until now, an event yet to be realized. This significant detail was subsequently verified through an article composed by the esteemed British Lieutenant Colonel Steward Crawford, and disseminated to the public via the Daily Express. 

As put forth by Lt. Col. Crawford, when his discourse was published, there was a conspicuous absence of any substantive proof to indicate the existence of Challenger 2 tanks within Ukrainian borders. This standpoint was mirrored by distinguished war correspondent Jonathan Beale, who is presently positioned in Ukraine. Through the medium of social media, he disclosed having posed queries about the potential location of these tanks to a pair of high-ranking Ukrainian generals. Their joint reply pointed towards the conclusion that such tanks were not a part of the Ukrainian military arsenal.  

Russian army destroyed the first UK Challenger 2 tank in Ukraine?
Photo credit: Twitter

In an insightful proposition, Lt. Col. Crawford hypothesized that the Ukrainian military may not have yet engaged their Challenger 2 tanks in the theater of active combat, insinuating the possibility of their deployment in other locations. As part of his comprehensive analysis, Crawford issued a warning about the potential complications that could surface if these formidable machines were to be stationed on the front lines. 

He underscored the vulnerability of these armored units to drone strikes and mine blasts, a susceptibility not solely confined to the Challenger 2. This perilous weak spot, he noted, is similarly evident in the German Leopard 2 tanks, thereby broadening the scope of this critical concern. 

In the initial weeks of July, numerous accounts highlighted the trials faced by the Ukrainian military in assimilating the Challenger 2 tanks into their strategic operations. These challenges can be traced back to a set of specific stipulations imposed by the British government.

The Challenger 2 was discerned

In our last report from June, it was brought to light that Russia had made allegations regarding the unprecedented sighting of a British Challenger 2 tank, strategically positioned near the battleground of the persistent conflict in Ukraine. These claims have been further ignited by a video, a compelling piece of evidence that the author has presented, which has gained considerable traction on the Telegram social network.

The video under discussion presents the striking visual of a British Challenger 2 tank deftly navigating a dust-laden country lane. The footage further discloses an array of private dwellings, discernible from their unmistakable steeply pitched roofs, a design trait that is emblematic of the rustic architecture found ubiquitously in both Ukrainian and Russian villages. 

Notably, the proximity of the thoroughfare and the encompassing terrain of the dwellings are bolstered with formidable fortifications. These include towering mounds of sand and strands of barbed wire, juxtaposing the domestic tranquility with a stark military presence. Such defensive structures have incited conjecture from RVvoenkory, leading them to surmise that the footage’s origin may not be distant from the frontline. Instead, it is quite plausible that the location is in closer proximity to the epicenter of the conflict, underscoring the pervasive impact of warfare on everyday life.

Guarantees of non-involvement-involvement

The city of London has formally solicited categorical assurances from Kyiv, seeking confirmation that these tanks will eschew high-risk maneuvers to forestall their prospective seizure or destruction by the Russian military forces. It is an effort to mitigate any potential escalation of the conflict, underscoring the delicate balance of power in the region. 

Earlier this year, a significant event occurred that garnered attention in both political and military circles. In January, the British tabloid, The Sun, broke a story that elicited a spectrum of responses. The article in question shed light on the shipment of 14 units of the formidable Challenger 2 tanks to the Ukrainian armed forces, a move indicative of shifting geopolitical dynamics.

British Gulf War tanks may be modernized and sent to Ukraine - Challenger 1 tanks
Photo credit: Twitter

In a noteworthy revelation from British journalist Jerome Starkey, it has come to light that the British Ministry of Defense is seriously contemplating evacuation strategies for the Challenger 2 tanks. The importance of this decision is underscored by the words of an unidentified source from the Ministry, who gravely pointed out the potentially catastrophic consequences should a Challenger 2 tank be seized by Russian aggressors. 

Additionally, Mr. Starkey divulged, quoting a reliable informant, that a tactical strategy is being meticulously crafted in a collaborative effort between the British and Ukrainian military hierarchies. London, in its pursuit for certainty, is ardently seeking a commitment from Kyiv to guarantee the safekeeping of a British armored vehicle, should any contingencies arise concerning the security of the 14 tanks. 

Instructions on the dismantling of armored vehicles

Contained within the British Ministry of Defence’s “contingency strategy” for the retrieval of the Challenger 2, is the provision for instructing Ukrainian soldiers in the art of battlefield extraction during a conflagration. This essentially presents Kyiv with a binary choice: either to strategically position these formidable machines far in the rear echelons or to have an evacuation apparatus on immediate standby behind each tank, primed and ready to execute a swift withdrawal.

In addition to the previously discussed strategies, London and Kyiv are exploring a novel contingency plan – the potential engagement of a private military company. This initiative would be implemented should the tank suffer substantial damage and Ukrainian forces find themselves ill-equipped for its retrieval.

With an impressive record in its military career, the Challenger 2 has experienced a solitary defeat – the loss of a single tank. This unfortunate incident transpired during the tumultuous period of the Iraq War, ironically as a consequence of friendly fire. Notably, this British military behemoth lays claim to an unparalleled record of striking an adversary’s tank at an astonishing distance of 2.5 miles, a remarkable achievement that was also realized on the battlefields of Iraq.


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