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29 Apr, 2024 13:36

Russia releases Abrams ‘trophy tank’ strike footage

The American-supplied armor was taken out by two missiles near Avdeevka, according to a clip released by the Defense Ministry

The Russian Defense Ministry has released a video it claims shows the destruction of a US-made M1 Abrams tank near the Donbass city of Avdeevka, which will be displayed at a trophy exhibition in Moscow.

A black-and-white clip shared by the ministry on Sunday shows the Russian military launching an anti-tank guided missile at a barely visible target, resulting in an explosion. The crew of the anti-tank system fired again, resulting in another explosion.

Another video, apparently filmed from a drone, shows the Abrams being hit on the side, with a large pillar of fire immediately erupting from the top of the vehicle. Three Ukrainian crew members are seen exiting the burning tank and crawling away from the danger zone. The Abrams crew is normally four, and it is unclear what happened to the remaining service member.

Images shared by the ministry show the Abrams was rendered completely inoperable by the missiles, with wheels and tracks missing and the compartment for the crew completely burned out.

In a statement, the ministry said the evacuation of the heavy vehicle involved two stages. The first included engineer reconnaissance of the area to ensure the safety of personnel and equipment, and the second was the evacuation itself.

Earlier in the day, RIA Novosti shared a clip of the tank being towed to the rear. Russian ‘Center’ group spokesperson Aleksandr Savchuk said the US-made armor would be displayed at a major trophy show in Moscow, which will also feature dozens of other Western-made heavy vehicles captured during the conflict.

The US has sent Kiev a total of 31 M1 Abrams tanks. According to the New York Times, as of late April, Moscow has taken out at least five Abrams, with three more “moderately damaged,” most reportedly hit by Russian kamikaze drones.

According to AP, the remaining Abrams tanks had to be pulled back to the rear by the Ukrainian command over fears of Russian drone strikes.