Before the war in Ukraine, Russia was thought to have one of the best tank forces on Earth.
But that myth was shattered in the months of war that followed and seem to have no end in sight.
How long will the conflict drag on? How many tanks will be sent to the junkyard?
Video Shows Destruction of Two Russian Tanks
Though it was undisclosed where the action took place, the two Russian tanks – believed to be T-72s – were successfully targeted by units of the Ukrainian Ground Force’s 59th Motorized Brigade, which was engaged in the fighting around Bakhmut.
The unit was previously named by the commander of Ukraine’s Operational Command South as the “best” Ukrainian motorized brigade following its service in the war in Donbas with pro-Russian separatists – and based on the newly posted approximately one-minute-long video it is easy to see why.
The pair of Russian tanks quickly came under fire, and each was disabled before their crews could react.
According to Rob Lee, senior fellow of the Foreign Policy Research Institute, who had shared the video on social media, the Russian T-72s were hit by the American-made FGM-148 Javelin anti-tank guided missiles.
However, the second of the two T-72s may have actually hit a mine – but either way, there does appear that two more Russian MBTs could be added to the tally of vehicles destroyed/disabled in the now 13-month-long war.
Though it is unclear when the incident may have occurred, fighting had escalated around the city of Bakhmut at the time. The coal-mining hub in Ukraine’s Donetsk region has become a pivotal battlefield in the broader war for both Moscow and Kyiv, The Wall Street Journal reported. The Kremlin has made its capture a core objective and has done so. However, Ukraine’s military has shown an unwavering resolve to get the city back.
Much of the urban center has been reduced to rubble, and the fighting has continued to evoke comparisons to the infamous Battle of Stalingrad during the Second World War, while the combat operations around the city have also been seen as a 21st-century version of the trench warfare of the Western Front during the First World War. Though Russia launched a major offensive earlier this winter to take control of Bakhmut, it seems Kyiv won’t give up the fight and might be trying to take the city back.
Losses in Ukraine Keeping Getting Bigger
It was reported in February that Russia may have already lost more than half its tanks, and that number has likely only increased in the months since.
According to a report from Forbes, as of late March, nearly 1,900 Russian and pro-Kremlin separatist tanks have been destroyed or captured. To bolster its dwindling numbers, Russia has been forced to upgrade Cold War-era T-62 and even older T-54/55 series tanks.
— Rob Lee (@RALee85) April 5, 2023
Even with enhanced armor the tanks could be metal deathtraps when facing man portable weapons such as the Javelins – while analysts have also questioned how those platforms will stand up to the British Challenger 2 and German Leopard 2 MBTs now in the fight.
Author Experience and Expertise
A Senior Editor for 19FortyFive, Peter Suciu is a Michigan-based writer. He has contributed to more than four dozen magazines, newspapers, and websites with over 3,200 published pieces over a twenty-year career in journalism. He regularly writes about military hardware, firearms history, cybersecurity, politics, and international affairs. Peter is also a Contributing Writer for Forbes and Clearance Jobs. You can follow him on Twitter: @PeterSuciu.