A Russian T-72B tank has been destroyed in Ukraine, and a new video of the event has been released on Twitter. In the 51-second clip, a Russian T-72 is seen moving along a dirt road in a wooded location close to the Dnipro riverside.
As the T-72 leaves the dirt road and winds through the trees, the video shows a Ukrainian texting on a mobile phone, likely to help aim or shoot.
Then the moment of impact: An M982 Excalibur impacts the tank, its action shown from the perspective of a tablet screen. The tank explodes instantly.
The last 20 seconds of the video show the consequences of the impact. The tank burns.
Gradually, the fire spreads to the trees and brush surrounding the tank, consuming an ever-widening swath of forest.
A thick column of gray smoke rises from the scene of the attack.
Where does the video come from?
The video was posted by Ukraine Weapons Tracker (@UAWeapons), an account with more than 800,000 followers, whose bio reads:
“Debunking and tracking the use/capture of material in Ukraine.” The video in question bears the caption: “#Ukraine: A Russian T-72B tank was destroyed by an M982 Excalibur attack by the Ukrainian 406th Artillery Brigade on the left bank of the Dnipro river near Chelburda, #Kherson Oblast.”
It is unclear when the images were taken.
There’s no snow on the ground, so maybe the video isn’t particularly recent.
The forest in the video appears to be made up of evergreen trees, which keep their needles year-round and therefore do little to help determine the season.
In any case, the video chimes with the idea that Russian forces are suffering appalling tank attrition during their invasion of Ukraine.
“The Russian army is estimated to have lost almost 40% of its prewar tank fleet after nine months of fighting in Ukraine, according to a tally by the specialized think tank International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS),” The Guardian reported.
“That jumps to 50% for some of the key tanks used in combat, forcing Russia to dip into its still-sizable Cold War-era reserves.”
The T-72, for example, the T-72 tank shown in the video, went into production in 1969. Variant B, which @UAWeapons says is the tank pictured, was developed in 1984 with a main gun, a stabilizer, an improved sighting and control system, and armor.
Even so, it is a design from almost 40 years ago.
And as the video demonstrates, the T-72B is no match for the M982 Excalibur, a US-developed 155mm-range guided artillery shell.
Russian tank T-72. Image credit: Creative Commons.
The M982 is an excellent example of how the weapons the West is donating to Ukraine are vital to strengthening the Ukrainian defense.
Since the Russo-Ukrainian war began last year, the United States has donated more than $75 billion in aid to Ukraine, $23.5 billion of that total in the form of weapons and equipment such as the M982.
And as the @UAWeapons video demonstrates, US military aid is making a difference on the ground, allowing Ukraine to target and destroy advancing tanks.