The Russian forces have successfully hit the second Challenger 2 tank out of 14 heavy equipment pieces that London supplied to Kiev, the Russian media reported on Saturday, citing a local civic movement head from the Zaporozhye Region.
- The heavy armor was supposedly rendered inoperable after it took just one hit with a Russian Kornet anti-tank missile, Vladimir Rogov, the leader of the ‘We are together with Russia’ movement told RIA Novosti.
- “The British-[made] tanks have seen an open season declared on them,” Rogov said, adding that the second such tank was destroyed by the Russian airborne troops. The weapons supplied by the UK “burn just as well as any other Western equipment,” Rogov pointed out, adding that the fate of such equipment “is not to be envied.” The activist did not name his sources for the information.
Neither Kiev, nor Moscow have officially commented on the reported development so far. London, which confirmed the destruction of the first Challenger 2 tank in Ukraine earlier this week, did not provide any comments either.
- The first British-made tank was also reportedly hit by a Russian Kornet missile. The Kornet system is a man-portable anti-tank guided missile, which can also be mounted on a vehicle. Some of its modifications are capable of destroying main battle tanks and other armored vehicles equipped with explosive reactive armor at a distance of up to 10 kilometers.
- On Wednesday, a video of the first Challenger 2 tank being supposedly struck by such a missile surfaced on social media. The tank had completely burned out as a result of the hit, the footage showed.
At that time, British Secretary of Defense Grant Shapps said that “there can be material losses” in a conflict zone and London “accepts that.” He also told journalists that the UK does not plan to send additional tanks to Kiev to replace the losses.
The UK sent some 14 Challenger 2 tanks to Ukraine earlier this year as part of a massive Western military assistance effort, which mostly included variants of German-made Leopard 2 tanks. The supplies were intended for the much-touted Ukrainian counteroffensive that was eventually launched in early June.
Since then, the Ukrainian troops have barely managed to bring about any changes to the frontlines while suffering heavy losses both in personnel and equipment. As of September 5, 2023, Kiev lost some 66,000 troops and 7,600 pieces of heavy weaponry in its summer operation, according to Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu.