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Leopard tanks Russia claims to have destroyed turned out to be farming equipment

The so-called Leopard tanks turned out to be merely farming equipment
The so-called Leopard tanks turned out to be merely farming equipment Copyright Martin Meissner/AP
Copyright Martin Meissner/AP
By Sophia Khatsenkova
Published on Updated
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Leopard 2 tanks are some of the most advanced and powerful military vehicles out there. Dozens have been provided by NATO countries to help Ukraine.

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Did Russia recently destroy eight German-made Leopard tanks while Ukraine carries out a counteroffensive?

That’s what the Ministry of Defence in Moscow announced, claiming a grainy black-and-white video as proof. 

Several silhouettes of vehicles can be seen, before a helicopter launches a missile that strikes them, causing an explosion. “It's a direct hit!” says a voice speaking in Russian.

Almost immediately after the video was posted, multiple Twitter users and military experts cast doubt on its authenticity.

Leopard 2 tanks are some of the most advanced and powerful military vehicles out there. 

Multiple NATO countries began providing them to Ukraine earlier this year.

According to multiple analysts, the video posted by the Russian authorities is no Leopard 2.

These alleged 'tanks' turned out to be nothing more than just farming equipment.

As this Twitter user and military analysis account pointed out on Twitter, the silhouette of the destroyed vehicles in the video appears to more closely match a self-propelled sprayer used in agriculture.

"Even a semi-professional can clearly see that these are agricultural harvester and sprayer machines," he said. 

A weapons expert on Twitter showed that the vehicle struck by the Russian missile has four wheels, while Leopard 2 tanks have continuous tracks like a bulldozer and are also low-lying.

Other elements that appear strange in the video are that these so-called tanks are both out in the open and stationary, which doesn’t make sense strategically as these Leopard 2s are usually camouflaged behind trees and other vegetation. 

In the longer version of the video that was posted by the Russian Ministry of Defence, one of the operators is heard saying “Let’s try this out on these”, which could imply this was merely a military test. 

Even prominent pro-Kremlin channels spotted this inconsistency, mocking this as a piece of propaganda. 

A pro-Russian military blogger posted on Telegram saying "This is embarrassing, we’re at a loss for words. Sorry." 

The boss of the mercenary Wagner Group Yevgeny Prigozhin, who has been clashing with Russia’s top military officials, mocked the Ministry’s claim that Ukraine’s counteroffensive had been “stopped.”

“Judging by the Defense Ministry’s announcement… we already defeated all European armies a long time ago,” Prigozhin said via his press service, quipping that the war can now end because Russia has “no one left to fight."

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