Third Abrams Loss Near Avdiivka in a Week Fuels Russian Propaganda

The Russian armed forces reportedly knocked off another M1 Abrams tank in Ukraine this week, bringing the toll to three.

An unnamed soldier took out the US armored vehicle with an anti-tank weapon near Avdiivka from a distance of 6 kilometers (3.7 miles), Russia’s state-owned TASS reported, citing a Russian lawmaker.

No official confirmation has come yet. However, the soldier has purportedly been awarded as a Hero of Russia, the country’s highest honorary title, according to the outlet.

Ukraine’s 47th Mechanized Brigade — deployed west of Avdiivka — is fielding the Abrams fleet.

Previous Abrams Losses

It follows Russia officially announcing the destruction of the second M1 on Monday near Avdiivka.

A Ghoul First Person View (FPV) drone struck the tank with a Soviet PG-7V anti-tank rocket, according to state-owned outlet Izvestia, which cited the drone manufacturer.

Before that, the Russian military registered its first M1 kill in the same region on February 26.

‘Empty Tin Can’

A $500 Piranha FPV drone was credited with the strike, fueling Russian propaganda against the $6 million tank, 31 of which arrived in Ukraine last fall with the reputation of being a thorough overmatch for Russian armor.

Seizing upon the opportunity, adviser to the head of the Russia-held Donetsk People’s Republic, Ian Gagin, described the vehicle as an “empty tin can” whose vital parts had been removed.

“The Abrams that we recently burned, this tank was an empty tin can with a cannon – before being transferred to Ukraine, all innovations and secret technologies were removed from it so that Kyiv would not take possession of them,” RIA Novosti quoted Gagin as saying after the first loss.

Top Vulnerability

The claim, of course, holds no water as the 2000s-vintage tank reportedly comes with an “M-1A1 situational awareness model of the Abrams with tungsten armor, side-mounted M-19 reactive armor blocks, a 120-millimeter smoothbore gun and high-fidelity day-night optics.”

With all its protection, though, experts believe the tank’s relatively thin armor at its top renders it vulnerable to top attack FPV drones.

Ukraine’s Tank Losses

The Abrams loss marks the destruction of at least one Western tank sent to Ukraine, “including one of 28 M-55S, at least eight of 40—soon, 54—Leopard 2A4s, at least five of 21 Leopard 2A6s, the single Strv 122 out of 10 as well as one of 31 M-1s,” Forbes wrote, citing Oryx.

Ukraine has reportedly recouped almost all its estimated 700 tank losses in the war through the donation and capture of Russian tanks. It currently fields an estimated 2,000 tanks.

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