How One Missile Team Took on Russian Tanks and Prevailed
Kyiv, October 9, 2023 – In a recent and intense clash in the Lyman sector, Ukrainian forces have claimed a remarkable victory against Russian tanks, asserting that a single anti-tank missile team destroyed 25 Russian tanks in just four days of fighting. While this extraordinary battle performance occurred on the eastern front, where Russian forces launched a series of attacks against Ukrainian troops, the details remain limited, and independent confirmation is scarce.
The Ukrainian missile unit, part of the Armed Forces of Ukraine’s (AFU) 66th Separate Mechanized Brigade, achieved this feat during a series of heavy Russian army offensives. The encounter was brought to the public’s attention through a statement by Ukrainian Ground Troops commander Oleksandr Syrsky.
A video released by the Ukrainian military and widely circulated on social media platforms showcased a lone Russian T-90M Proryv tank swiftly advancing through a farm field, firing multiple rounds from its main gun. The tank attempted to launch grenades as a defensive measure but was ultimately struck and destroyed by an anti-tank missile, as evidenced by images published by Syrsky.
“Defenders of the anti-tank company of the 66th brigade of the Armed Forces of Ukraine destroyed 25 enemy tanks in just four days,” the head of the press service of the Eastern group Ilya Yevlash said. pic.twitter.com/gpA9Zodya9— NOELREPORTS 🇪🇺 🇺🇦 (@NOELreports) October 8, 2023
Detailed footage of the engagement indicated that the tank commander was visible with his head outside the turret before the T-90M met its end. This event was geolocated to the vicinity of Kreminna in the Luhansk region, with some unverified reports suggesting the area was near the village of Makiivka.
The T-90M Proryv is the top-of-the-line Russian main battle tank and represents the Kremlin’s most advanced armored vehicle deployed in Ukraine. It boasts protective features such as the Shtora-1 system, designed to detect and neutralize incoming anti-tank missiles, as well as Relikt explosive armor blocks on its hull and turret, which are intended to mitigate the effects of missile strikes.
Throughout the 18 months of warfare in Ukraine, Russian commanders had been hesitant to engage the T-90M in active combat. Whether the grenades launched by the tank in the video were part of the Shtora-1 system or smoke grenades used for concealment remains unclear.
The Ukrainian missile strike that led to the tank’s destruction appeared impervious to the T-90M’s defensive systems, resulting in a catastrophic explosion that left the tank in ruins.
Ilya Yevlash, spokesperson for the AFU’s Eastern Troop Grouping command, reported intensified artillery and ground attacks by Russian troops. He noted that Kremlin forces launched a record number of artillery and air strikes in the usually tranquil northeastern sector of the conflict on Sunday.
Despite the limited corroborating evidence of Russian tank losses in the Lyman sector, Russian military sources claimed that AFU units, including the 66th Brigade, initiated attacks that were repelled in fierce battles.
Besides the video footage of this particular engagement, the AFU did not present any additional evidence of Russian tank losses, nor did they specify the exact types of Russian tanks allegedly destroyed by the 66th Brigade’s anti-tank team.
According to the independent monitoring group Oryx, Kremlin forces have acknowledged losing 45 T-90 tanks and a total of 2,362 tanks of various types since the start of Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine. However, the AFU refrains from publishing statistics regarding Russian tank losses by type and does not provide public evidence to support their kill claims. Their official estimate of Russian tanks destroyed during the war stands at 4,823, a figure disputed by Kremlin information platforms as greatly exaggerated.