The Kremlin has lost a lot of tanks in the Ukraine conflict.
After only 15 months of war, the Kremlin lost over two-thirds of its initial tank force.
Jakub Janovsky, a writer and military expert, said that Russia had begun the conflict with about 3,000 operable tanks this week. While these statistics have not been independently verified, they would have a tremendous impact if accurate.
In Ukraine, the destruction of a Russian tank or other armored vehicle is captured on film almost every other day.
The open-source military intelligence website Oryx, located in the Netherlands, said that the Kremlin’s tank losses had topped 2,000, but the exact figure is unknown and perhaps never will be.
On Tuesday, Oryx said that 1,239 Russian tanks had been destroyed, 106 damaged, 113 abandoned, and 544 seized, all based on social media posts, images, and other data from the battlefield.
Oryx only counts losses for damaged vehicles and equipment for which there is photographic or video proof; therefore, its estimates may be far lower than the actual total.
Evidence suggests that Moscow may have lost the vast bulk of its active tank force from before the conflict, including many of its finest tanks. Russian forces no longer “punch into operational depth” with tanks but wait for favorable conditions before attempting breakthroughs. In the later phases of the conflict, armored thrusts were rarely used.
Even though Russia tried this strategy in its ill-fated onslaught earlier this winter and lost scores of tanks, it is possible that Russia does not have the tanks to undertake such frontal assaults. Russian tanks recklessly drove across minefields in the Ukraine, causing widespread destruction.
Although Janovsky attributes Russia’s defeats to several issues, one cannot deny the importance of the country’s arrogance. The Kremlin hoped for an easy win and carried out a “reckless invasion plan,” but the Ukrainian armed forces were prepared with anti-tank weaponry.
Russia suffered heavy initial defeats because of its ineffective tactics, and after more than a year of continuing setbacks, the country changed its approach to the war.
Even with the changes, the number of Russian tanks lost this summer is only expected to rise.