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Video captures massive Russian tank explosion that sent turret flying in the air

An explosion near Mariupol, Ukraine on May 6, 2022 sends a Russian tank turret flying. (Screenshot)
May 13, 2022

A video circulating social media this week showed a Russian tank being destroyed in a massive explosion in Ukraine that sent its turret flying through the air.

A television crew for the Chinese state-run Phoenix TV was recording a video along a Ukrainian roadway when it captured the massive explosion followed by tank’s turret flipping in the air.

“Chinese TV crew captures Russian tank turret going rocketing into the sky,” New Voice of Ukraine at-large editor Euan MacDonald tweeted. “A design flaw in many Russian tanks is that the ammo store is directly underneath the turret – if a hit detonates it, the turret goes straight up, sometimes reaching extremely impressive heights, like here.”

Phoenix TV said its news crew was on its way to the southeastern Ukrainian city of Mariupol on May 6th, to report on the civilian evacuations from the besieged city. Phoenix TV said that while its news crew was on the way to Mariupol, “a Russian tank suddenly exploded.”

Instances of Russian tank turrets being thrown through the air are not uncommon. Another video taken this week by Ukraine’s 54th Mechanized Brigade showed a whole column of Russian tanks and other armored vehicles coming under Ukrainian artillery fire, including one that launched a part into the air after it was struck.

The video, set to Ukrainian pop music, showed a line of Russian tanks and other armored vehicles traveling down a Ukrainian roadway in the eastern Donbas region before several vehicles were struck by the Ukrainian artillery fire. At around the 2:50 mark in the second video, an armored vehicle could be seen driving towards a plume of smoke before exploding and launching the part flying hundreds of feet in the air.

The emblem at the start of the second video is that of Ukraine’s 54th Mechanized Brigade. The unit has been active since 2014 and participated in the fighting in the eastern Donbas region, which had been ongoing for years before Russia launched its invasion of Ukraine in February.

By the Ukrainian side’s most recent estimates, the Russian side has lost around 1,205 tanks, another 2,900 armored personnel vehicles and about 2,906 other vehicles and pieces of ground equipment.

The exact number of casualties and vehicles and equipment destroyed in Ukraine is hard to independently verify.

Oryx, a group that has worked to provide photographic documentation for each piece of Russian equipment lost so far in Ukraine, has documented 3,659 Russian vehicles and pieces of equipment destroyed, damaged, abandoned and captured so far.