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.
#Ukraine: Constantly on the prowl, the Ukrainian Bayraktar TB2 UCAV continues to destroy targets in the South – a Russian BMD-2 airborne infantry fighting vehicle was destroyed during the ongoing offensive in #Kherson Oblast by a high-precision munition. pic.twitter.com/A2ja8Crh8Q— Ukraine Weapons Tracker (@UAWeapons) September 4, 2022
#Ukraine: We can reveal yet more Russian targets hit by Ukrainian Bayraktar TB-2 drones in recent days in #Kherson Oblast; what appears to be two 9A331 TLAR from the 9K331 Tor-M1 SAM system, as well as an unknown transport vehicle attempting to hide under foliage. pic.twitter.com/IOtDxVIxMO— Ukraine Weapons Tracker (@UAWeapons) September 4, 2022
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.
#Ukraine: Whilst the Bayraktar TB-2 is often used against Russian HVT (Artillery, fuel/ammo dumps, EW equipment), they are can roam freely enough that they can target smaller targets; such as this 2B11 120mm mortar and supply truck taken out today during the #Kherson offensive. pic.twitter.com/hBPRh3EX0E— Ukraine Weapons Tracker (@UAWeapons) September 1, 2022
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.
Video of a Ukrainian TB2 UCAV strike on what looks like a Russian armored vehicle in a tree line. The HUD indicates this strike happened on September 1.https://t.co/aVDKCP8tvP pic.twitter.com/5pz5byaEp1— Rob Lee (@RALee85) September 4, 2022
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.
Imagery of a downed TB2 seen around, however the wrecks are 2 completely different ones. The new images in the quoted tweet have cracked soil & dry vegetation. Wreck is burned.— Evergreen Intel (@vcdgf555) September 4, 2022
The pics I pulled from pro-RU source has wet soil & new plant life. Wreck is in chunks. https://t.co/bvGDSG1pQE pic.twitter.com/rsPiPRU1CD
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.