Russia's Best Tank Destroyed Just Days After Rolling into Ukraine—Report

A journalist has posted a photo on social media of what experts say is the first confirmed loss in the Ukraine war of one of Russia's most advanced tanks.

Ukrainian war reporter Andriy Tsaplienko posted on Facebook an image of him standing in front of the knocked-out T-90M in the eastern Kharkiv region.

"Here's a fresh Russian improve your mood," he wrote, according to a translation. "It's hot, it's smokin' hot."

"This village in the Kharkiv region was recently freed by the Ukrainian military. But this morning the invaders tried to get into it again.

"As you can see, they did it badly," he wrote, adding that the scrap metal would go on display in a May 9 parade marking the end of World War II. "Glory to the Ukrainian armed forces," he added.

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The image shows the first confirmed loss in the Ukraine war of the T-90M Proryv (Breakthrough) which is the latest version of the Russian T-90 main battle tank, according to Defense

A statement on Ukraine's Defense Ministry website said that the tank had been hit and that an infantry fighting vehicle and an MT-LB armored personnel carrier were also neutralized. Kyiv first reported the presence of the T-90M in eastern Ukraine on April 25.

Russia's armed forces have around 20 of the tanks whose combat efficiency is more advanced than its T-90 predecessor.

The National Interest reported that its improved features include a multi-channel sighting system, a turret with more armor plating and a more powerful main gun, which is the same as that on the T-14 Armata, another modern Russian tank.

Newsweek has contacted Tsaplienko and the Ukrainian and Russian defense ministries for comment.

Meanwhile, another Ukrainian journalist—Oleksandr Makhov—was killed by Russian shelling in the northeastern city of Izium in the Kharkiv region on Wednesday.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky paid tribute to Makhov, 36, who was an on-air reporter for Ukrainian television before volunteering for military service at the beginning of the war. Zelensky called him a "hero."

It comes as Ukrainian defenses managed to largely stall Russian advances in eastern Ukraine on Wednesday, according to an assessment by the Institute for the Study of War (ISW).

The analysis by the U.S. think tank said that Russian forces attacking south of Izium look like they will not be able to successfully encircle Ukrainian forces in the Rubizhne area.

It said that Kyiv's forces have so far stopped Russia merging their offensives to the southeast of Izium and the west of Lyman, Slovyansk, and Kramatorsk.

However, the ISW said that Russian forces have pushed deep into the Azovstal steel plant in Mariupol on Wednesday and are likely to be operating within the site where the last of the city's fighters are holding out.

T-90 tank
A Russian T-90M tank (front) and other military vehicles drive along the Garden Ring road towards the Red Square for a rehearsal of the Victory Day military parade, in central Moscow on May 4, 2022. A Ukrainian journalist posted an image on Facebook of a burnt out Russian T-90 in Ukraine's Kharkiv region. KIRILL KUDRYAVTSEV/Getty Images