Grant Shapps, the UK Defence Secretary, has confirmed a report that a British Challenger 2 tank was recently destroyed in Ukraine.
"It may be the first loss, as far as we’re aware,” he said on Wednesday, noting that all six crew members survived.
Shapps says the tank was hit by a Russian artillery shell and caught fire. London does not plan to replace the vehicle, Shapps stressed.
Screenshot: Sky News
BBC News Russian reported the destruction of the tank during the Ukrainian military advance on the village of Robotyne in the Zaporizhzhia region on Tuesday after footage of the tank on fire was posted on social media a day earlier.
The Challenger 2 model entered operational service in 1994 and despite one loss involving friendly fire, had not sustained a single loss until now, according to The Guardian.
The Russian-installed authorities in the Zaporizhzhia region also reported the tank’s destruction.
Yevgeny Balitsky, the Moscow-appointed governor of the occupied region, confirmed on Wednesday that the Russian military had “tactically withdrawn” from Robotyne. The US-based Institute for the Study of War reported on Tuesday that the Ukrainian military was continuing its offensive in the western part of the Zaporizhzhia region.
The UK announced in January that it would provide Ukraine with Challenger 2 tanks and Bulldog FV432 armoured vehicles.