HomeWorldPutin panics as Ukraine has destroyed ‘up to HALF’ of Russian tanks in humiliating blow
Putin panics as Ukraine has destroyed ‘up to HALF’ of Russian tanks in humiliating blow
July 11, 2022
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Illia Ponomarenko, Defence Reporter with the Kyiv Independent, has suggested Russia is home to vast quantities of military vehicles which have been “gathering rust and dust for decades”. However, a British analyst has sounded a note of caution, pointing out there was no way to establish how many vehicles damaged during the conflict had subsequently been repaired.
Putin sent his troops into Ukraine on February 24 – but since then they have encountered fierce resistance. Ukraine’s military claims upwards of 30,000 Russian troops have been killed.
Mr Ponomarenko said the war was inflicting a similarly devastating toll on Russian military equipment.
In a lengthy thread on Twitter, he asked: “How many tanks does Russia have now? How many more it can throw in against Ukraine?”
Vladimir Putin’s Russia has lost large quantities of a tanks, suggested Illia Ponomarenko (Image: GETTY/Twitter)
Russia tanks have been destroyed in large numbers since the start of the war (Image: GETTY)
Referring to a report published by the UK-based International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS), Mr Ponomarenko added: “Let’s think over what we know.
“Military Balance 2021 says before the 2022 invasion Russia had a total of 3,330 operational tanks: Т-72s, T-80s, T-90s, up to the latest versions T-72B3Ms, T-80BVMs, or T-90Ms.”
Ukraine claimed Russia had lost at least1,641 tanks, the US put the figure at “over 1,000” while analysts Oryx claims to have confirmed 857, Mr Ponomarenko pointed out.
He added: “So this means Russia has lost between 25 percent (a very conservative estimate) and 50 percent (an optimistic estimate) in its springtime cringe-krieg and the battle of Donbas.
Russian President Vladimir Putin shakes hands with Indonesian President Joko Widodo in Moscow (Image: GETTY)
One of Illia Ponomarenko’s tweets (Image: Twitter)
“But there’s even more: databases from several years ago say it has some 2,800 T-64As/Bs, 2,500 T-62s, and even 2,800 legacy T-55s. Yes, the Soviet Union manufactured unbelievable, ridiculous amounts of hardware to just keep its insane defence production system running.
“So we’re screwed and hopeless? In reality, a large share of those 17,000 tanks exist just on paper or have been collecting dust and rust for decades. Just google any of those endless cemeteries of hundreds of rusty tanks kept in the open.
“Poor maintenance (or the absence of it), negligence, and devil-may-care attitude is a common story. Even in the Soviet era, corruption in the military was widespread – POLs, components, and equipment were sold off in the black market under the counter.”
Meanwhile newer tank types such as T-72s and T-80s had been ”plundered” for electronic components, he claimed.
Russia vs Ukraine: The military imbalance (Image: Express)
Mr Ponomarenko said: “This is in many ways why we see Russians re-activating old T-62s and T-63Ms as older types were of less interest to embezzlement.
“Ask anyone who has served in a Soviet or post-Soviet military. Besides, there is this thing called ‘cannibalisation’ where you dismantle components for like three tanks to put the fourth tank in order.
“Russians are now demothballing tanks and other vehicles to set off their losses.
They are preparing a new striking fist against Ukraine, and we must be ready. But Russia is very far from being the ultimate unwinnable death army they want to pretend to be.
Biggest armies in the world (Image: Express)
“After all, it’s not tanks that do the fight – it’s the people organised, trained, supplied, and motivated as a military force.”
Commenting on the thread, Sam Cranny-Evans, a Research Analyst at the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI), told Express.co.uk: “The first thing to note is that Russia is actively repairing damaged tanks in Ukraine and across the border, so it’s likely that a certain portion of the losses are being repaired and returned to battle
“I think around 30 percent of damaged vehicles in the first Nagorno Karabakh war were returned to battle, but can’t be sure.
“So, the figures are a little misleading because we don’t know what percentage have been returned to combat condition.”