Ukrainian Tank Crushes Friendly MRAP In Wild Battlefield Video
A Russian drone’s view shows a Ukrainian T-72 tank roll over a MRAP vehicle while under heavy fire.
A bizarre video posted this morning by the Russian VOIN DV Telegram channel appears to be a Russian drone’s view of a Ukrainian T-72 Tank rolling over and crushing a Ukrainian Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) armored vehicle as some crew members frantically flee.
VOIN-DV claims the video was taken near the Vremevsky Salient, a section of western Donetsk Oblast near the Mokri Yaly River where some of the heaviest fighting during the counteroffensive is taking place. The War Zone cannot independently confirm the date or location of this incident.
The 53-second video begins with the tank pushing an MRAP, possibly a U.S.-donated International M1224 MaxxPro, on a dirt road along a tree line.
At about the four-second mark, a Russian Lancet loitering munition comes into view and appears to hit the tank somewhere around its right skirt and explode in a bright flash. The tank shrugs off the damage, possibly helped by explosive reactive armor, and continues with its puzzling task.
But the tank continues on, pushing the MRAP along the tree line for about another 18 seconds before the video cuts to another scene. It’s a higher-level view, showing the tank pushing the MRAP into the field. As the tank backs up toward the MRAP, at least one soldier and perhaps a second one can be seen running out of the MRAP.
At the 28-second mark, the tank begins to back over the front of the immobile MRAP, ultimately rolling on top of it. That's quite a feat, considering that MRAPs are often more than 10 feet tall. That indicates the vehicle is likely in a ditch or some kind of depression at the time. About two seconds later, the MRAP's heavily armored passenger side door appears to swing open as the tank continues to back over it.
At the 38 second mark, the video then cuts to a separate scene. A higher-level drone view shows the tank traveling north toward a Ukrainian MRAP that appears to receive a direct hit, perhaps from a drone. You can also see a third, tan-colored vehicle, which appears to have a demining blade attached to the front.
The VOIN DV Telegram channel claims that this was an attempt by Ukraine to remove damaged equipment from the battlefield under fire.
“The command of the Armed Forces of Ukraine is very upset when broken and abandoned armored vehicles end up on our [channel], so the crews are forced to risk their lives trying to evacuate them,” VOIN DV wrote. “As you can see, these attempts have the opposite effect - complete confusion begins, and then this whole circus falls into the lens of our drones, and tanks with infantry fighting vehicles become an easy target for artillery, aviation and [Lancet drones].
As with so many Russian claims, this one merits a high degree of skepticism, though it surely seems like the Ukrainian tank was trying to push the MRAPs.
After watching the video, a U.S. defense official with years of armor operations and Bradley tactics experience told us it appeared the tank was trying to crush the MRAP on purpose.
“I believe the tank was moving that vehicle into an angle where it could crush it,” the official told us. “I believe that MRAP was possibly stuck in an awkward angle, and potentially had damage to its suspension.”
The tank tried to push the MRAP, possibly stuck in a ditch, but may have damaged the axel in the process, the official said.
“The tank crew made the decision to destroy the vehicle so the enemy can’t recover it or use it for propaganda purposes,” the official said.
This also matches our own internal analysis of the video.
But what definitively happened is unknown at the moment. We also don't know what happened to these vehicles and the troops in them.
But we do know that Ukrainian officials have said their counteroffensive, in many cases driving through minefields, is being attacked by Russian artillery, aviation and drones.
“Russians actively use assault and army aviation and conduct intense artillery fire. During the offensive, our troops encounter continuous minefields, which are combined with anti-tank ditches," Ukrainian Deputy Defense Minister Hanna Maliar said Tuesday on her Telegram channel. "All this is combined with constant counterattacks by enemy units on armored vehicles and the massive use of ATGMs and kamikaze drones.”
So far, the U.S. has provided Ukraine with more than 500 MRAPs, while other nations have donated some of various makes and variants as well. According to the latest tabulation from the Oryx open source intelligence group, Ukraine has lost 23 U.S.-donated M1224 MaxxPro vehicles during the entire course of this conflict, with 12 destroyed, seven damaged, two abandoned and two captured. It is unclear if that count includes any of the vehicles seen in this incident. We reached out to Oryx and will update this story if and when they respond.
We will provide more information about this situation if an when it becomes available.
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