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Russian Missile Strike in Ukraine Kills 1: Latest News and Updates

Ukrainian recruits and their British Armed Forces trainers complete a session on the operation of a Challenger 2 tank at a military facility in Southern England in February.Credit…Leon Neal/Getty Images

The recent destruction of a British-made Challenger 2 tank in combat in Ukraine appears to show that some of the most advanced Western-supplied armored vehicles are now being used by Kyiv in its grinding counteroffensive.

Deploying the British tanks, known for their long-range and precise firepower, represents a tactical shift on the battlefield for Ukraine, whose forces have been struggling to penetrate entrenched Russian defensive lines. To try to break through, Ukraine had, in part, relied on a recently donated arsenal of hundreds of Western battle tanks, such as the German-made Leopards.

According to a cache of Pentagon documents that were leaked in April, the Challenger 2 tanks have been attached to Ukraine’s 82nd Air Assault Brigade. Analysts say that brigade was held in reserve when Ukraine launched its counteroffensive in June, but the Challengers’ appearance on the battlefield indicates that Ukraine has now committed the majority of its newly supplied Western equipment to the campaign, which has made only incremental gains.

Russian Missile Strike in Ukraine Kills 1: Latest News and Updates

The first indication that the Challenger tanks were being used in the counteroffensive emerged on Tuesday, when an unverified video circulating on social media showed the hulk of a Challenger 2 tank burning on a dusty road. The location could not be immediately verified, but military analysts say that the tank was likely destroyed near Robotyne, a village that Ukraine retook last week.

Britain’s defense secretary, Grant Shapps, confirmed the destruction on Wednesday, adding that “it may be the first loss” of the British tank on Ukraine’s battlefield.


Britain was the first Western nation to pledge to send battle tanks to Ukraine, promising in January to supply a squadron of 14. Its decision prompted other countries to follow suit. Later that month, the United States promised to send 31 M1 Abrams tanks, which American officials have said could reach the battlefield by fall.

Losing a Challenger 2 tank in combat was not unexpected, given the grueling nature of the fighting. In the first two weeks of the counteroffensive, as much as 20 percent of the weaponry that Ukraine sent to the battlefield was damaged or destroyed — including several of the Leopard tanks that Kyiv had been relying on since beginning its counteroffensive in June.

After Ukrainian forces struggled to push through a maze of Russian minefields and fortifications, the 82nd brigade and its tanks were deployed on the southern front. It helped reclaim Robotyne after weeks of fighting, analysts said.

“The 82nd Air Assault Brigade appears to have achieved success soon after it was committed,” two military analysts, Michael Kofman and Rob Lee, wrote in a paper published on Monday.

British news outlets reported that the destroyed tank was first immobilized by a mine and then struck by a drone. Mr. Shapps said that the six tank crew members “were actually able to survive” the hits.

Thomas Gibbons-Neff contributed reporting.

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Nathan is an experienced journalist. He's covered a broad spectrum of topics, including politics, culture, and human interest stories, always aiming to engage and inform his audience. Nathan has a degree in Journalism and upholds the highest standards of integrity and accuracy in his work.

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