As the Russian invasion of Ukraine began its second week on Thursday, both sides have inflicted heavy combat losses.
While exact combat losses for each side are difficult to independently verify at this time, videos shared widely on social media over the last week have shown the various ways Ukrainian forces have destroyed invading Russian military vehicles.
In the weeks leading up to Russia’s invasion, members nations of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization donated hundreds of tons of anti-tank missiles to Ukraine, including the joint British-Swedish-developed NLAW anti-tank missile launcher. Already, the NLAW has seen frequent use in the conflict by the Ukrainian side.
In one video, a Ukrainian soldier appears to casually stroll down a roadway carrying an NLAW, as the sounds of a still-raging battle could be heard around the street corner. As the soldier approaches an intersection, several armored vehicles could be seen burning. Other Ukrainian soldiers could be seen in ambush positions in the nearby brush along the roadway.
This week, a Russian armored column was reportedly ambushed in the town of Bucha, which is a suburb of the Ukrainian capital city of Kyiv. A photo from the ambush site showed several destroyed vehicles left on the roadway.
Ukrainian special operations troops have also been seen using Soviet-era RPG-26 disposable anti-tank rocket launchers. In one video, a pair of Ukrainian soldiers stepped onto a roadway through an access gate to fire a pair of RPG-26s at Russian tanks.
Another video shared by Ukraine’s Defense Intelligence office showed Ukrainian special forces soldiers reportedly surveying 10 more destroyed Russian armored infantry fighting vehicles.
While several Russian tanks appeared to have been destroyed in ambushes and active battles, other Russian tanks and armored vehicles appear to have been abandoned. In one video shared by Coffee or Die Magazine, what appear to be civilians can be seen climbing on and into a Russian tank and dropping burning rags inside.
Another Twitter user shared a video of still more burning armored vehicles carrying the same painted-on Z symbols that have marked dozens of Russian military vehicles throughout the Ukraine conflict. The Twitter user said that in many cases, Ukraine does not have the resources to repurpose captured or abandoned Russian vehicles, and has to instead set them on fire, to avoid them being recovered and used again by the Russian side.
In addition to ground-based means of destroying armored vehicles, such as rocket launchers and incendiary devices, the Ukrainian side has also destroyed Russian equipment from above using a Turkish model of unmanned combat air vehicle (UCAV), known as the TB2 Bayraktar.
While some social media users claimed the Bayraktar drones Ukraine purchased from Turkey were all destroyed near the start of the conflict, other social media users have shared videos and photos of Russian vehicles they said were destroyed by still-active Ukrainian Bayraktar drones.
Ukraine’s Ministry of Defense has also shared footage, purporting to show the Bayraktar drones in action.
So much success has been attributed to Ukraine’s Bayraktar drones that an official account for Ukrainian Ground Forces (UGF) shared a music video praising the drones and show-casing some of their purported combat strikes.
Ukraine’s Defense Ministry said that as of Thursday, the Russian side had lost hundreds of military vehicles, including 217 tanks, 900 armored personnel carriers and 374 fighting vehicles.