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Russian forces destroy first British-supplied Challenger 2 tank in Ukraine, official says

(Reuters) - Russian forces fighting in southern Ukraine have destroyed a British-supplied Challenger 2 tank for the first time, a Russian-backed official said on Tuesday, releasing what he said was a video of its smouldering wreckage.

Ukraine in March thanked Britain for what it said were the "fantastic machines" after London sent Kyiv 14 of its Challenger 2 main battle tanks ahead of a Ukrainian counteroffensive.

Vladimir Rogov, a Russian-installed official in part of the southern Zaporizhzhia region which is under Moscow's control, said on Telegram that a Challenger 2 had been set alight in fighting near the southeastern village of Robotyne.

He said the tank belonged to the Ukrainian army's 82nd brigade and was meant to have reached Crimea, which Russia annexed from Ukraine in 2014, but had instead been destroyed on what he said was the first line of Russian defence.

A video Rogov posted on Telegram showed what look like a tank on fire by a roadside with thick grey smoke rising from it.

Reuters could not immediately confirm Rogov's assertion.

Russia has previously announced that its forces have destroyed German-made Leopard 2 battle tanks and U.S. fighting vehicles along with other hardware supplied to Ukraine by countries such as France and Denmark.

(Reporting by Andrew Osborn; Editing by Alison Williams)