Polish mercenaries captured and crewed Ukraine’s first Leopard tank, claimed Alexey Muratov, deputy secretary of the “United Russia” party’s Donetsk branch. The United Russia is affiliated to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s political party. According to Muratov, the tank was captured in the Bakhmut area.
The Leopard tank was captured on March 1st, 2023. Jan Gagin had earlier announced that Leopard tanks had been spotted in the Bakhmut area. Incidentally Gagin job is to advise Denis Pushilin, the Acting Head of the DPR.
Poland has delivered at least four Leopard tanks to Ukraine on February 24.
There is no photographic evidence to show that a Leopard tank was captured by the Russians. Photographic evidences have not been shared in the social media. This is critical because, if the claim is true, Russian soldiers would not pass up the chance to pose next to a Leopard with a Russian flag on its turret.
Further, the capture of a Leopard tank was also not mentioned by the Russian Ministry of Defense. Fighting near Bakhmut is mentioned in the military department’s daily summary for March 1, and that’s it.
We remind you that Russia’s Ministry of Defense enjoys announcing captured Western weapons in Ukraine. Consider how many times Russia has claimed to have destroyed Ukrainian HIMARS systems while failing to provide photographic evidence. Now the situation is the same, but the Russian Ministry of Defense makes no mention of the possible capture.
One of the most active pro-Russian Telegram accounts also does not provide any photographic evidence of this capture. They have only used quoted Muratov. Thus, there is no way to confirm the veracity of Muratov’s claims at this juncture.
One of the most fiercest fighting between Ukrainian and Russian troops is taking place in the Bakhmut region. The city and its infrastructure serves as a critical supply hub for the Ukrainian army. However, the city is just as important as the Russian military for the same reasons.
According to sources, the Russian army currently has the upper hand. The city is surrounded by Russian troops, including soldiers from the private military company Wagner. According to the acting head of the DNR, Denis Pushilin, the Russian army controls all major peaks in the city.
It is to be seen whether Ukraine will continue to send reinforcement to Bakhmut given mounting losses. The possibility of withdrawing the troops currently stationed there is also being considered, said Sergey Cherevaty, spokesman for Ukraine’s Armed Forces’ Eastern Group.
Ukraine currently has only four of the tanks promised by the allies. These are the Leopards of Poland.
Ukraine anticipates more Leopard deliveries, which appear to be in the lead in terms of numbers among the other promised – Challenger 2 and Abrams. Crews from Ukraine are currently being trained to operate the third type of tank.
The next Challenger to be delivered to Ukraine is expected to be Challenger 2. London promised 14 of these tanks. The American Abrams will arrive in Ukraine by the end of the year or the middle of next year, said senior Pentagon officials.