Russian Commander Watches Friendly Tank Blown to Pieces in Front of Him


Smoke rises from a Russian tank destroyed by the Ukrainian forces on the side of a road in the Lugansk region on February 26, 2022. A video posted to Reddit purportedly shows a strike on a Russian T-80BV tank in the contested Luhansk region of eastern Ukraine.ANATOLII STEPANOV/AFP VIA GETTY IMAGES

Footage appearing to show a Russian tank commander at the moment a Russian tank is destroyed in Ukraine has emerged online.

The video, posted to Reddit, purportedly shows a strike on a Russian T-80BV tank in the contested Luhansk region of eastern Ukraine from the point of view of the commander in Moscow’s forces.

On Monday, Ukraine’s General Staff of the Armed Forces said Russia had lost a total of 3,619 tanks since the start of the war on February 24, 2022. The updated count included one tank that Ukraine’s military said had been taken out in the previous 24-hour period.

In the clip, the tank is struck and a piece of the vehicle bounces back toward the camera’s vantage point, which is captured from over the left shoulder of the apparent Russian tank commander. The surviving tank then reverses, and figures can be seen running away from the flaming tank.

Newsweek could not independently verify the details of the footage. Newsweek reached out to the Russian Defense Ministry via email for comment.

By a separate count by Dutch open-source outlet Oryx, since the start of the war, Russia has lost 1,909 tanks, including 1,156 destroyed and 553 captured by Ukrainian forces, as of Monday. Included in Oryx’s count are 277 Russian T-80BVs, the type mentioned in the video uploaded to Reddit. However, the true number might be higher, as Oryx logs only visually confirmed losses.

Ukraine has repeatedly shared footage of Russian tanks being destroyed. In late March, Ukraine’s 36th Marine Brigade posted a video to various social media platforms of what appears to be Russian armored vehicles being taken out by Ukrainian weapons.

In February, former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said Moscow would be increasing its production of modern battle tanks after NATO countries donated Western-made tanks to Kyiv.

“It is clear that in this case, it is natural for us to increase production of various armaments including modern tanks,” Medvedev said on February 9.

In mid-February, the International Institute for Strategic Studies said that Russia had lost up to half of its key pre-war tank numbers in the first nine months of the war.

At the time, the Washington-based Institute for the Study of War (ISW) said Russia had likely lost about 50 percent of the tanks it had deployed in the war.

Russia has also likely pulled old tanks, such as the T-54 and T-55, from long-term storage, the ISW said on March 22. This would be a move to “compensate for significant armored vehicle losses,” the think tank wrote.

However, the Russian military could face higher casualty numbers through using older tanks in Ukraine, the ISW said.

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