British Challenger 2 tanks were spotted on the Ukrainian front line for the first time – as it became known that Russian helicopter attacks forced Kyiv to suspend a counteroffensive after destroying at least twenty Western tanks and IFVs. 

A squadron of fourteen Challenger 2 tanks, equipped with 120mm rifled guns and 7.62mm machine guns, were handed over by Britain earlier this year as the West continues to show its all-out support for Ukraine in its fight against Putin’s invasion. 

The £5 million Challenger 2 is designed to attack other tanks and has a much greater range and accuracy than the Kremlin’s tank counterpart. 

The video, shared on Telegram, shows one British Challenger 2 advancing along the front line against the backdrop of Ukraine’s long-awaited counterattack, which began earlier this month. 

The tank came at a time when Ukrainian generals are known to have suspended the offensive recently to regain strength and find a way to retake temporarily occupied territory without heavy casualties. 

After beginning the second week of counterattacks, Ukraine faces serious resistance in its struggle to liberate Russian-occupied land. 

In particular, a Russian detachment of twenty KA-52 attack helicopters gave the Russians air superiority over the advancing Ukrainians. Russian propaganda pictures show dozens of destroyed Western armored vehicles, including sixteen Bradley infantry fighting vehicles and five Leopard tanks. 

Footage recently emerged showing Russian Ka-52 Alligator helicopters destroying Western tanks “at the junction of Zaporizhzhya and the DNR’s South Donets/Vremia,” as claimed by pro-Russian Internet users.  

Ukraine is also facing a new ISIS-style Russian tactic of equipping suicide tanks with explosives and remotely directing them at Kyiv’s soldiers.  

RVvoenkory, which runs one of the most active pro-Russian Telegram accounts, posted a video about the British Challenger tank in Ukraine with the caption: “After the spectacular failure of German Leopard tanks, the Ukrainian armed forces appreciate the gifts of British engineers and have never put Challenger 2 tanks into combat. But soon, they too will burn out.”  

When they first arrived in Ukraine in March, the British Challenger 2 battle tanks were called “marvelous” by Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksiy Reznikov. 

According to the British Army, it is the UK’s only mobile tank with guaranteed 24/7 and all-weather capability, with protected direct fire and anti-tank maneuvering capabilities.

An early version of the tank claimed the furthest defeat of a tank in history: during the Gullah war, this fighting vehicle destroyed an Iraqi tank from three miles away. 

The Challenger 2 has a crew of four and has a range of 340 miles on the highway and 160 miles off-road. However, its top speed is about 37 mph, slightly slower than the German Leopard tank. 

British military commanders have described the 75-ton armored vehicle as a modern tank that is “much better protected, more reliable, and faster” than Soviet-era Russian tanks. 

But the arrival of British tanks on the front lines to support Ukraine comes when Putin and Russia are bragging about destroying Leopard tanks and Bradley vehicles. 

The Russian Defense Ministry said Friday that Russian troops who can destroy Western tanks used by Ukraine would receive bonuses as Putin seeks to encourage his soldiers to continue fighting.  

The setback for Ukraine came after footage showed Russian soldiers stuffing a T-54 tank with explosives and then remotely pointing it at Ukrainian soldiers, a terrifying new tactic. 

The footage shows the suicide tank exploding, raising clouds of smoke into the air. Putin and his troops are testing another method, which they say has already been used at least once to limit the advance of Ukrainian forces. 

However, their plan failed when a remote-controlled suicide bomber detonated a mine about a hundred meters from the front line. 

The T-54 was then detonated by a Ukrainian RPG, causing a powerful explosion on the battlefield. 

The Russian Defense Ministry said it had already used this potentially devastating method of destruction in at least one instance, saying Saturday that its soldiers had stuffed the MT-LB with explosives and pointed it at Kyiv forces. Moscow claimed this resulted in significant casualties, but this has not been confirmed. 

According to British intelligence, the most intense late fighting has occurred in the southeast of the Zaporizhzhya region, around Bakhmut, and further west of Ukraine, in the eastern part of the Donetsk region. 

Since the response began on June 4, Ukraine’s efforts have yielded a mixed reaction. Reports that yesterday they recaptured Pyatikhatki in the south of the Zaporizhzhya region were the first victory in nearly a week. 

Moscow is using its dense minefields, superior air power, and Kyiv’s limited air defenses to stop several counterattacks, but importantly, it is also destroying sophisticated Western artillery. 

On Saturday, Britain’s Ministry of Defense reported that Russia had reinforced its attack helicopters in occupied Berdyansk, about 60 miles behind the front lines. 

Britain said over 20 helicopters were deployed there as Moscow beefed up its defenses. 

Russian bloggers constantly gloat over pictures of burnt-out Western tanks, but the Defense Ministry says Russian casualties are the highest since March. 

Both sides are suffering heavy losses, with Russian losses probably the highest since the peak of the battle for Bakhmut in March,” the report said. 

Yesterday’s capture of Pyatikhatok by Ukraine, reported by Kremlin-appointed official Vladimir Rogoza, was the first on the Zaporizhia front since the counteroffensive began. Moscow later denied the capture. 

Previous successes were farther east, on the western edge of the Donetsk region, where Ukraine claims to have recaptured several settlements.