Ukraine releases footage of Bayraktar strikes on Russian forces in Kherson

Ukraine Weapons Tracker / Twitter

Several new videos showing Bayraktar TB2 drone strikes on Russian armored vehicles surface online after Ukraine resumes its first major offensive since the start of the invasion.  

The footage, which first appeared on open-source intelligence (OSINT) social media channels, show Bayraktars striking tanks, artillery, air defense systems and other armored vehicles allegedly belonging to Russian armed forces.   

According to descriptions, most of the videos were filmed in the vicinity of Kherson, the southern Ukrainian city which was occupied by Russian forces at the beginning of the invasion.  

In the final days of August 2022, Ukrainian armed forces launched a large-scale offensive around the city, with numerous videos and photographs showing at least limited success in certain areas.  

According to OSINT channel Ukraine Weapons Tracker some of the drones operating in the area were delivered following successful crowdfunding campaigns. One was organized by Lithuanian influencer Andrius Tapinas, another by Ukrainian journalist Serhiy Pritula, and the third was initiated by Polish journalist Slawomir Sierakowski.  

While most of the footage has been scrubbed of any data that could indicate when and where they were filmed, at least several videos retain the original TB2 display interface and show the dates as August 31 and September 1, suggesting that the footage is recent.  

This has been partially confirmed by Grey Zone, a Telegram channel closely linked to Russian private military corporation (PMC) Wagner. In one of its posts Gey Zone confirms that at least two Bayraktars are supporting Ukraine’s offensive on Kherson.  

The channel also confirmed that one Russian Pantsir air defense system had been destroyed by a Bayraktar strike, lending further credibility to the footage released by Ukraine.  

Meanwhile, on September 3, the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine Valerii Zaluzhny announced that between August 31 and September 2 two Bayraktar TB-2 drones were involved in heavy fighting. The drones destroyed eight T-72 tanks, two 2S3 Akatsiya self-propelled guns, two BMP armored personnel carriers and two howitzers.   

Zaluzhny’s post does not indicate in which area the Bayraktars were operating. However, he pointed out that one was donated by Lithuania, linking the drone to Tapinas’s crowdfunding campaign.  

Following the release of the footage several photographs, which allegedly show the wreckage of a Ukrainian TB2 drone, have been published by a Telegram channel linked to Russian military.  

One post claims the drone was donated by a Baltic country, likely linking it with the one crowdfunded in Lithuania. However, the wreckage lacks the iconic “Vanagas / Yastrub” livery which adorned the Lithuanian drone.  

Closer inspection of the photos reveals that they, in fact, show fragments of two different Bayraktars. Furthermore, the photos lack any information that could help determine the time or location where the images were taken.  

In the published videos, at least three tanks, one infantry fighting vehicle, one air defense system and several artillery pieces and supply trucks can be identified as destroyed or damaged, with further identification made difficult by relatively poor quality of the footage.   

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