Video has emerged purporting to show the first instance of a destroyed British Challenger 2 tank near the frontline in Ukraine.
A company (14) Challenger 2s were pledged to Ukraine in January this year, though they took several months to arrive.
The decision sparked a wave of other main battle tank promises from Western allies. A further company was pledged in May.
Little has been known about their whereabouts since but footage over the last month suggests they may have been used in the Robotyne attack in western Zaporizhzia Oblast, currently the hottest point along the 600-mile front line.
Western-trained brigades, units of which appear to have been rolled into the counteroffensive in the past few weeks, are believed to be in possession of some of Challenger 2s.
Pro-Russian military blogger channels on Telegram have made an assortment of claims regarding the footage.
The Military Informant channel said: “It seems that the British Ministry of Defence will have to change the description of the Challenger on its official website.”
The site stated the UK’s main battle tank had “never suffered losses” on operations in Bosnia, Kosovo and Iraq.
But, as is the trend with videos that have not been geolocated, time stamped nor verified, the larger Russian milbloggers, run by a group as opposed to a single person, have refrained from conclusively saying the destroyed tank is a British Challenger 2, which points to the dubious nature of the video.
Prominent commentator Mikhail Zvinchuk, who operates under the handle Rybar and has nearly 1.2 million followers, said: “At the beginning of the video, the hulk of a burning tank is visible, and in visual outline it looks like a British Challenger 2 .
“This type of armoured vehicle has not yet appeared at the front, and this may be the first recorded case of its destruction.”
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, namely, the 82nd separate air assault brigade.”
The reports of Russian military bloggers, who have widely circulated this video, cannot be taken at face value. As an information source mainly for Russian civilians, they have added incentive to portray the failures of Ukraine’s western supporters, particularly when it comes to weapons supplied to fight against Russia.