The first British Challenger 2 tank to be lost in action is left in smoldering ruins after being hit by Russian forces in Ukraine
- The Ministry of Defense has so far claimed that the tank has “never suffered losses” in combat.
Video has surfaced on the battlefield showing the burning wreckage of a British Challenger 2 tank, the first of its kind to be lost in action, after it came under attack by Russian forces in Ukraine.
The footage, which is also the first verified sighting of one of the British-supplied tanks on the front line in Ukraine, shows a Ukrainian vehicle driving past the wreckage of a burnt-out tank near Robotyne in Zaporizhzhia Oblast.
It is believed to be one of the former main battle tanks of the 82nd Air Assault Brigade, which has played a key role in the counter-offensive in the south since last month.
A Western defense source told the bbc that the video showed a Challenger 2 and that all crew on board survived.
Russian pro-war channel Gray Zone also reported today that the video “appears to be the first documented British Challenger 2 tank destroyed in service with the Ukrainian Armed Forces.”
The exact details of how and when the tank was destroyed are still unclear.
The shaky footage was filmed from a Ukrainian vehicle passing a tank wreckage.
Fire and black smoke surround the charred remains of an armored vehicle in Ukraine
Britain initially supplied 14 of its Challenger 2 tanks to Ukraine and later doubled the number to 28, it announced in May.
The Ministry of Defense 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 Defense Ministry, “has never experienced a loss to enemy hands.”
Russia’s Telegram channel Military Informant wrote after the footage surfaced this week: “It appears the British Ministry of Defense will have to change the description of the Challenger on its official website.”
The 82nd Air Assault Brigade was reported having entered the battlefield for the first time last month after receiving modifications to help defend against drone attacks.
Mesh cages were welded to the top of the tanks to help reduce damage from drone-dropped munitions.
The 82nd, arguably the most powerful brigade in the Ukraine, was held back for six weeks before joining the initiative to retake the occupied south.
Towards the end of August, the brigade gave the Ukrainian forces the leverage to free Robotyne from the Russians.
Russian sources have acknowledged that the Challenger 2s were being used in southern Ukraine to help break the stalemate around Zaporizhzhia, a region that has seen heavy fighting since the start of the war.
The pro-war Rybar channel said the burned-out tank seen this week was “on the western outskirts of Verbove [where] “Enemy raiding parties are trying to gain a foothold,” he adds: “And most likely British tanks were used to break through the defences, where they were covered by artillery.”
“This once again confirms the thesis that the Challengers, Leopards and Abrams are teams that can and should be destroyed.”
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 the 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 mention the type of tank.
Separate images show the Challenger 2 deployed by the Ukrainian armed forces in the war zone.
MailOnline contacted the Ministry of Defense for comment.