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Javelin Strike: Russia’s T-90M Tank Is Died a Horrible Death in Ukraine

Russia Putin
Russia's T-90A main battle tank.

The T-90M is supposed to be on the best tanks on Earth. And then it went to Ukraine…Russia faced yet another military setback this week following reports that one of the country’s most advanced tanks in service, the T-90M, was destroyed just days after it was deployed to Ukraine.

Ukrainian journalist Andriy Tsaplienko first posted a picture of the charred vehicle on Wednesday from the Kharkiv region, which he said was recently liberated by Ukrainian forces.

Tsaplienko shared a photo of himself standing in front of the ruined tank, jokingly telling his followers that the destroyed vehicle is “hot, it’s smokin’ hot.”

The journalist said Russian troops on Wednesday attempted to reclaim the territory but failed to make headway. Tsaplienko reported that the scraps of Russia’s destroyed tank will be displayed in an upcoming May 9 parade commemorating the end of World War II.

The Ministry of Defense of Ukraine confirmed the T-90M’s destruction in a Thursday statement, saying the battle vehicle nicknamed the “Breakthrough” had arrived in Ukraine just one week prior to its demise.

“Thus, the image of the Russian army, which many in the world feared, has degraded and fallen over the past two months to such an extent that few could have imagined it,” the statement said.

According to Newsweek, the machine’s presence in eastern Ukraine was first reported on April 25.

The Defense Ministry said the tank was hit by Ukrainian forces with an American Javelin anti-tank missile system near Izyum. The agency reported that an MT-LB armored personnel carrier and an infantry fighting vehicle were also destroyed in the attack.

In its statement, the Defense Ministry said the missile system “turned a super-modern Russian tank into a pile of scrap metal.”

The T-90M tank, which is one of the newest additions to Russia’s T-90 series, is the most technologically advanced battle vehicle within Russia’s frontline arsenal, according to The Drive, and was first issued to Russian military divisions in the spring of 2020. The outlet estimated that only about 100 models are currently in service.

Russia’s T-14 Armata is newer than the T-90M, but still in production.

T-90

Russian T-90 tank. Image: Creative Commons.

The Ukrainian Defense Ministry said the T-90M is equipped with a powerful engine, panoramic sight with rangefinder, a thermal internal imaging channel, and a fire control system. The new design also features multi-layered armor and ammunition placed outside the unit, according to the ministry. Multi-channel sight in the tank allows it to fire at all times of the day.

“All these upgrades do not seem to have helped the T-90M, which is already seen as the first confirmed loss of a tank of this type in Ukraine,” the Defense Ministry said in its statement.

Last month, Russia suffered another embarrassment after its Black Sea flagship “Moskva” sunk after being hit by a Ukrainian missile. 

Erin Snodgrass is a junior reporter for Insider. Before joining Insider, Erin was an intern with InvestigateTV and Česká televize. She graduated from Loyola University New Orleans in 2020.

Written By

Erin Snodgrass is a junior reporter for Insider. Before joining Insider, Erin was an intern with InvestigateTV and Česká televize. She graduated from Loyola University New Orleans in 2020. Her work has also been published in The Olympian and on Nola.com. She can be reached by email at [email protected] or on Twitter as @erinsnod.

8 Comments

8 Comments

  1. Steven

    May 7, 2022 at 12:04 am

    Current Russian tanks have a design flaw, main gun ammunition stored in the turrent as part of main gun auto-loader system, enabling a three man crew, while most Western tanks have a fourth crew member who serves as a loader.
    The ammunition, stored in the turrent, makes these kinds of tanks a death trap when attacked by weapons attacking from the top, where armor is usually thinner than on the main hull.

    • Quartermaster

      May 7, 2022 at 8:38 am

      The M-60 had its ammo store in the turret. That weakness was recognized and a magazine was built into the M-1 with provisions for the blast to be directed upward, rather than into the turret. One M-1 was hit in the magazine in Iraq and the commander was later interviewed attesting to the fact that it worked.

      The T-90, as I recall, is based on the T-72. The T-72 was the equal of the M-60 A3 in US service, but is utterly outclassed by the M-1. The upgunned version might be able to get a shell into the M-1, but the T-72 and T-90 will be opened by the main gun of the M-1. Explosive reactive armor will not save it.

      The Armata is so expensive that Russia is having to slow walk production. I don’t think they have enough for a brigade at this time, and that would not save them in Ukraine anyway. The Javelin and NLAW will kill them as well.

      • Fluffy Dog

        May 7, 2022 at 10:10 am

        T-72 was of the same time and heritage as M-60A3, but I would not say that they were equal. For one thing, T-72 reliability was below M-60. They were on par in terms of firepower, and the T-72 had lower ground pressure, being designed for the Central European Plains, but that is pretty much it. It’s not a place to run a point-by-point comparison though. Just nit-picking.

  2. bob

    May 7, 2022 at 12:16 am

    Tanks and surface ships are not the threats they used to be. Their days are numbered.

    • Ashli Babbitt deserved that bullet

      May 7, 2022 at 1:46 am

      Not true at all. Russia is just that bad at warfare, as they use Dark Age tactics despite their Soviets Era tech.

  3. Alej

    May 7, 2022 at 9:47 am

    Your screen name adequately denotes your crappy personality.

  4. meeester

    May 7, 2022 at 11:20 am

    Writer’s first language doesn’t seem to believe English.
    Editor on break?

  5. Ebola

    May 7, 2022 at 5:11 pm

    She’s citing newsweek and ukrainian sources so that’s all you need to know. Gibberish like every other story on this site.

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