Russia Claims First Abrams Tank Kill in Ukraine

by | Feb 28, 2024

Russia Claims First Abrams Tank Kill in Ukraine

by | Feb 28, 2024


FILE PHOTO: A US Army M1A2 Abrams main battle tank fires at a target at McGregor Range, New Mexico, September 29, 2023. (Credit: US Army / Spc. David Poleski)

Russia’s military has claimed to have destroyed a US-supplied M1 Abrams main battle tank in Ukraine for the first time, with reports stating the multi-million dollar weapon was knocked out by a cheaply made suicide drone.

The Defense Ministry announced the claim on Tuesday following a flurry of operations around the city of Avdeevka, which fell to Russian forces earlier this month following a major Ukrainian pull-back. 

“The enemy lost as many as 485 personnel, two tanks, including a US-made Abrams tank, three infantry fighting vehicles, including a Bradley, six armored combat vehicles, 13 motor vehicles and two D-30 howitzers,” the ministry said in a statement. Its figures could not be confirmed.

Unverified footage making the rounds on social media purported to capture the moment the Abrams was hit, while a separate image was alleged to show the smoking wreckage of the tank.

According to the Russian-installed governor of the Kherson region, Vladimir Saldo, Moscow’s 15th Motorized Infantry Brigade was responsible for the kill. He claimed the tank was spotted by a reconnaissance drone and destroyed on its first combat mission.

On Wednesday, a senior official of the Donetsk People’s Republic told Tass that “at least five” Abrams were seen operating in the area around Avdeevka. Days earlier the same official reported the tanks had been detected near the front lines for the first time in the conflict – despite arriving in the country last September.

Though US officials initially resisted the request, Washington agreed to provide 31 Abrams tanks to Kiev in early 2023, prompting Germany and other European partners to supply heavy armor of their own, such as Berlin’s Leopard 2 and the British Challenger 2.

While the Abrams was touted as a potential game-changer by some Western analysts, until recently Kiev appears to have been reluctant to actually deploy the expensive hardware. The tank requires a complex supply chain and maintenance infrastructure, especially during Ukraine’s cold, muddy winter season, likely explaining the decision to keep the weapon in reserve.

Following a disappointing summer counteroffensive last year and major setbacks around Avdeevka in recent days, Ukrainian forces are scrambling to stabilize defensive lines in the east, apparently with the aid of the Abrams. It remains to be seen whether the US hardware will help to reverse Russian gains, however, especially given reports the Abrams was crippled using a Piranha-10, a cheap first-person view kamikaze drone.

About Will Porter

Will Porter is assistant news editor at the Libertarian Institute and a regular contributor at Find more of his work at Consortium News, ZeroHedge and RT.

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