FACT CHECK: Did Russia Destroy An M1 Abrams Tank?

Elias Atienza | Senior Reporter

A video shared on Facebook claims Russia destroyed an M1 Abrams with an RPG-18 rocket launcher tank Jan. 27.

Verdict: False

While the U.S. is planning to send Abrams tanks to Ukraine, none of the tanks have arrived in the country as of Feb. 2. The claim appears to have originated from a Telegram channel.

Fact Check:

The United States pledged 31 Abrams tanks to Ukraine in late January, according to NPR. This came after the U.S. pledged more Bradley infantry fighting vehicles (IFVS) and Stryker armored personnel carriers (APCS) earlier in January, the outlet reported.

The Facebook video claims that Ukraine lost an M1 Abrams tank to Russia. The Facebook video’s caption reads, “Ukrainian Panic (Jan 27 2023) US M1 Abrams tank was destroyed by Russia use the RPG-18 Mukha.”

This claim is false. If Russia had destroyed an M1 Abrams in Ukraine, media outlets would have covered it, yet none have. The Russian Ministry of Defense did not report in its Jan. 27 update that it destroyed an Abrams tank, though it claimed to have destroyed other U.S.-made military equipment, such as M77 howitzers.

Furthermore, media reports are indicating that Russians are anticipating the arrival of Abrams tanks into Ukraine, not that they have already arrived. (RELATED: Does This Video Show The Aftermath Of A Russian Attack On Ukrainian Forces?)

For example, Reuters reported that a Russian company is offering $72,000 to soldiers that destroy western-made tanks, such as the Abrams and the German Leopard 2 tank. Anatoly Antonov, Russia’s ambassador to the U.S., told Newsweek that any Abrams tank sent to Ukraine “will be destroyed,” highlighting how the tanks are not on the Ukrainian battlefield.

The claim appears to have originated from a Russian Telegram channel that claimed an Abrams tank had been destroyed, which showed an image of a tank on fire, according to Newsweek. While Check Your Fact could not verify when the image was taken, a reverse image search revealed that the image has been circulating since 2010.

Elias Atienza

Senior Reporter
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