The war in Ukraine is getting ever more intense, with Putin’s losses mounting by the second.
The biggest challenge Putin faces is the losses of his elite tanks, especially the much-vaunted Russian T-90 and T-90m.
What will happen next? How will Russian tank forces respond with such heavy losses? Social media provides clues:
Footage: Russian T-90M Destroyed In Luhansk
The clip, which was shared by popular war-tracking Twitter account Ukraine Weapons Tracker, shows the Russian tank from above.
The video appears to have been recorded by a rotary-blade drone.
The T-90M tank, one of Russia’s most modern main battle tanks, was hidden in thick forest, likely as part of an effort to hide it from Ukrainian forces. Despite the tank being so well camouflaged, Ukrainian artillery quickly and easily strikes the vehicle, causing a large explosion and setting the vehicle on fire.
The scale of the blast, and the fire that ensues, could also suggest that the tank’s on-board ammunition ignited as a result of the strike.
“A Russian T-90M tank was destroyed by artillery fire of the Ukrainian 45th Artillery Brigade somewhere in #Luhansk Oblast,” the Twitter post reads.
While this is by no means the first Russian tank to be destroyed in combat, the loss of even one T-90M tank is a huge problem for Russian forces. The T-90 range of tanks is Russia’s third-generation main battle tank, based on the earlier T-72 tank. The tanks have been in service from 1992, but the T-90M is one of the more modern variations of the tank deployed in 2016.
Russia’s T-90M may be best compared to the United States Army’s M1 Abrams tank, making it Russia’s most valuable tank currently in use in Ukraine. Featuring a more powerful engine, improved turret, and enhanced exterior armor, the tank is designed to better withstand strikes from modern ammunition. However, the tank has been destroyed by Ukrainian strikes, and even in some cases by grenades dropped from jerry-rigged drones, on many occasions throughout the Ukraine conflict.
In January, a new batch of the upgraded tanks were delivered to Russian troops from the Uralvagonzavod
“Uralvagonzavod (part of UVZ Group within the state corporation Rostec) has successfully fulfilled its next contract for the delivery of T-90M Proryv tanks. The armor batch has already been sent to the Defense Ministry of Russia,” the statement explained.
Russian Deputy Prime Minister Denis Manturov also described how the tanks are “outfitted with advanced equipment that helps the tank crew effectively strike targets.”
— ???????? Ukraine Weapons Tracker (@UAWeapons) June 2, 2023
Jack Buckby is 19FortyFive’s Breaking News Editor. He is a British author, counter-extremism researcher, and journalist based in New York. Reporting on the U.K., Europe, and the U.S., he works to analyze and understand left-wing and right-wing radicalization, and reports on Western governments’ approaches to the pressing issues of today. His books and research papers explore these themes and propose pragmatic solutions to our increasingly polarized society.