The first US-made armored vehicle supplied to Kiev was destroyed near the recently liberated Donbass town of Avdeevka © Social media

The Russian Defense Ministry has confirmed that the first-ever Ukrainian M1 Abrams tank supplied by the US has been destroyed. The vehicle was taken out near the Russian town of Avdeevka in Donbass as Moscow’s forces continued to push westward.

The development was confirmed by the ministry in its daily briefing on Tuesday. Active combat is continuing to the west of Avdeevka, which was recently liberated by Russian troops, with Ukrainian forces losing up to 485 servicemen in the area over the past 24 hours, the ministry said.

The M1 Abrams was one of two tanks lost by Ukrainian forces, along with three infantry fighting vehicles, including a US-made Bradley, as well as multiple other soft and armored vehicles near Avdeevka, the Russian military confirmed.

The destruction of Ukraine’s first M1 Abrams was initially reported on Monday, with the vehicle said to have been taken out by a suicide drone and anti-tank grenade launcher. Footage circulating online shows the tank on fire, with its ammo stock burning. It was not immediately clear whether the crew of the tank managed to escape the destroyed vehicle.

Abrams tank destroyed in Ukraine conflict (FIRST VIDEO) – media Abrams tank destroyed in Ukraine conflict (FIRST VIDEO) – media

A batch of 31 M1 Abrams tanks was originally pledged by Washington early last year amid preparations for the long-heralded, but ultimately unsuccessful, Ukrainian counteroffensive against the Russian forces. The delivery was made in full only in mid-October, with the tanks reaching the front line in the past few days. They were deployed by Kiev near Avdeevka amid an ongoing effort to stabilize the frontline situation.

The Russian military liberated the key Donbass town earlier this month, prompting a chaotic rout of surviving Ukrainian troops from the area. Kiev, however, has insisted its forces were withdrawn from Avdeevka in an orderly fashion on the order of its newly appointed top general Aleksandr Syrsky. (RT)