Heavy armored vehicles including tanks supplied by the West have begun showing up on the frontlines in Ukraine, as Ukrainian forces have this week launched their counteroffensive.
Multiple war analysts are now confirming that Russian forces have just destroyed their first German-made Leopard II tank, which happened Wednesday in the south of the country. Videos and photographs which have emerged also appear to show destroyed Bradley fighting vehicles provided by the United States. Drone footage captured a Leopard II tank being destroyed at is was traveling in a column of other vehicles...
A war analyst and weapons tracker at Forbes confirms that the Russians have bagged their first Leopard.
According to a detailed analysis of the video:
A Russian artillery strike on a Ukrainian vehicle column during a daytime assault on or around the town of Novopokrovka—35 miles southeast of Zaporizhzhia city in southern Ukraine—apparently knocked out at least one Leopard 2 tank on Wednesday.
A Russian drone orbited overheard as the shells rained down, its crew presumably helping to direct the strike and assess the resulting damage. The Russians posted the drone’s video on social media, finally achieving what Russian propagandists earlier had tried and failed to do: posit the destruction of a Ukrainian Leopard 2.
The Leopard 2 and other armored vehicles were traveling in an uncomfortably tight column along an unpaved road outside Novopokrovka or nearby Mala Tokmachka—both occupied by Russian troops—when the artillery struck.
The below photograph is also widely circulating, showing multiple destroyed West-supplied armored vehicles closely together in a heap of mangled metal:
Photo showing damaged/abadoned Ukrainian Leopard 2A6 tank and Bradley IFVs reportedly in the Orikhiv part of the front. Possible mine strikes. Also indicates the Ukraine's 47th Mechanized Brigade is taking part in the fighting.https://t.co/cBqMQcLrIw pic.twitter.com/ZbShWLPakW— Rob Lee (@RALee85) June 9, 2023
Currently NATO allies have pledged 85 Leopard II tanks to Kiev, but there are more on the way, including the UK Challenger 2 tanks.
According to Forbes, "Many of Ukraine’s heaviest brigades have yet to join the attack." The report notes that "The 47th Assault Brigade with its American-made M-2 infantry fighting vehicles reportedly is fighting along the southern front. But the 82nd Air Assault Brigade with its ex-British Challenger 2 tanks and ex-American Stryker IFVs has yet to appear."
The video shows additional damaged or destroyed vehicles, including wheeled vehicles. Many of them were not catastrophic kills, which means the crew/dismounts likely survived. 2/ pic.twitter.com/ggKzdi21Lm— Rob Lee (@RALee85) June 9, 2023
At least 31 M-1 Abrams have been pledged from the United States, but it's expected the Ukrainian operators will take more time undergoing the necessary training on the sophisticated US-designed tanks.
Hard to say anything positive about this.— Oliver Alexander (@OAlexanderDK) June 9, 2023
After initially losing 4 M2A2 Bradley ODS-SA IFVs, 1 Leopard 2A6 and a BMR-2 armored demining vehicle in one location, 4 more M2A2 Bradley ODS-SA IFVs drove to the exact same position and started taking loses. pic.twitter.com/FFHVmy2T0o
Kiev has previously touted Western main battle tanks as a "game-changer" and are now eagerly seeking F-16s.