UK Defense Secretary confirms destruction of first Challenger 2 tank in Ukraine, no replacement will be sent
UK Defense Secretary Grant Shapps has confirmed that Ukraine has lost its first Challenger 2 tank on the battlefield
He said this on Sky News on Wednesday, September 6.
According to the minister, the tank was hit by Russian artillery, but the crew of six soldiers managed to evacuate and survive. He called it a great testament to the quality of this British kit.
"We gifted 14 of these Challenger 2 tanks to Ukraine. We accept that in a war zone there can be material losses, which is what’s happened here. I can also confirm that all six of the military in the tank, the Ukrainians, were actually able to survive this, which is a great testament to that British kit. This is the sort of thing that happens but we’ll always keep what we’re providing the Ukrainians with under close review," Shapps said.
He said that London would not send Kyiv a new Challenger 2 to replace the lost one. In total, Ukraine has received 14 of them.
Earlier, a video was posted on social media showing a Challenger 2 tank allegedly destroyed by the Russian troops. The footage was taken by Ukrainian soldiers driving a car near the destroyed vehicle. The caption indicates the Zaporizhzhia region.
The Guardian reported that the UK Defense Ministry believes that this only demonstrates the quality of London's military assistance to Ukraine. The publication writes that this is the first time in history that a British tank has been disabled by enemy action.
The Challenger 2 has been in service with the British Army since 1994. According to media reports, the last time one of these combat vehicles was destroyed was during friendly fire in Iraq in 2003.