British Challenger 2 destroyed in Ukraine, but crew survives

Watch: Video shows Challenger 2 tank destroyed in Ukraine.

A British-supplied Challenger 2 main battle tank has been destroyed in Ukraine but the crew members survived, Forces News has confirmed via defence sources.

Russian forces were responsible for taking out the vehicle, according to a Russian-backed official, but this has not been confirmed.

However, if true, this would make it the first Challenger 2 to have been knocked out by Russian forces during the conflict, and also the first time a Challenger 2 had been destroyed by enemy action.

In a post on social media platform X, OSINTtechnical published footage which appears to show smoke billowing from a destroyed tank.

OSINTtechnical wrote: "Destroyed Ukrainian Challenger 2 outside of Robotyne, most likely from the 82nd Air Assault Brigade."

It is believed to have been filmed on the southern front in Zaphorizhzhia, the focal point of Ukraine's main thrust.

It is not clear how the Challenger was destroyed.

Artillery or an anti-tank missile are potential causes.

However the vehicle might have become disabled, then deliberately scuttled to stop the Russians getting hold of it. 

The loss shows Ukraine is now committing its best-equipped brigades to its counter-offensive.

Ukrainian forces are said to be making headway, with infantry having reportedly reached the final line of Russian defences in the salient between Robotyne and Verbove.

Analysts believe the soldiers are pushing toward Verbove, having had to breach the so-called Surovikin line - a series of dragon's teeth anti-tank obstacles and trenches that make up the first line of Moscow's defences.

Watch: What is the Challenger 2?

The Ukrainians have a chance of reaching the coast 50km to the south, cutting Russian forces in half. 

Earlier this week, Volodymyr Zelensky sacked his defence minister and called for a new approach.

The Ukrainian President visited a command post in Zaphorizhzhia to present medals to troops.

Ukrainian commanders say the Russians' second and third defensive lines are less formidable, with fewer mines, making it easier to move men and armour.

Success is likely to depend on the calibre of reinforcements Moscow deploys to defend the area.

Watch: Challenger 2 instructors on reality of training Ukrainian soldiers.

The UK has given 14 Challenger 2 tanks to Ukraine to help defeat the Russian invasion.

Challenger 2s were described as a "sniper rifle among tanks" by one Ukrainian crewman who highlighted their superb accuracy among their other attributes.

Ukrainian troops have been undergoing training on Challenger 2 tanks in the UK ahead of returning to Ukraine to fight against Russian forces.

The 62.5-tonne tank has been used by the British Army on operations in Bosnia, Kosovo and Iraq.

Reports suggest American M1 Abrams tanks are also on the way to Ukraine, the first 10 of 31 the US is supplying may arrive this month as Ukraine gears up for what’s likely to be the largest armoured thrust of the war.

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