Russia’s military claimed that it had successfully destroyed eight German-made Leopard 2 main battle tanks (MBTs), along with more than 100 other armored vehicles, in just recent days.
“Total losses of Ukrainian troops in the southern Donetsk Region area were more than 1,500 Ukrainian servicemen, 28 tanks, of them 8 German-made Leopard tanks, 3 wheeled French-made АМХ-10 tanks and 109 armored fighting vehicles,” the Russian Ministry of Defense told the Russian state news outlet Tass.
On June 6, the Russian Ministry of Defense released footage from a Ka-52 attack helicopter to prove a first strike on a German-made Leopard tank.
But the video that Russian officials released to prove it doesn’t show a Leopard tank.
The Russian Ministry of Defense has released a video showcasing the destruction of foreign armored vehicles, with Russian media asserting that Leopard 2A4 tanks are among them.
However, verifying the accuracy of this information proves challenging.
— 301 Military (@301military) June 6, 2023
The Twitter account of the OSINT journalist Status-6 stated that the footage shows them to be combine harvesters and agricultural sprayers. The vehicle seen in Russia’s video lacks distinctive elements like the real Leopard’s 120mm barrel, or the secondary armament of a mounted machine gun that a crew member can fire from the hatch.
The Ukraine Weapons Tracker OSINT group added, “The vehicles targeted by ATGM from Ka-52 not only don’t resemble tanks but are in fact innocent agricultural equipment- a sprayer and combines.”
Beyond the visuals, the video also offers another indication this wasn’t a Leopard tank.
Samuel Bendett, a Russian-speaking military expert at the nonprofit research group CNA, pointed out that an operator says, “Let’s test on this.” That’s not the sort of thing any warfighter would likely say about targeting a top-tier tank thought to rival Russia’s best.
This wasn’t the first time that Russia had claimed to have destroyed a Leopard 2, but it is arguably among the least convincing. There has been no evidence, so far, to substantiate any Ukrainian Leopard tank losses.