Russia relies on old headlines after losing 3,000 tanks in Ukraine, says major military research center By Reuters

By Greg Torode

HONG KONG (Reuters) – Russia lost more than 3,000 tanks in its invasion of Ukraine – the equivalent of its entire active pre-war inventory – but has enough lower-quality armored vehicles in storage for years of replacements, it said an important research center. Tuesday.

Ukraine has also suffered heavy losses since the invasion began in February 2022, but Western military supplies have allowed it to maintain supplies while improving quality, the London-based International Institute for Strategic Studies said in its annual report on the military budget.

“Moscow was able to trade quality for quantity, withdrawing thousands of older tanks from depots at a rate that, at times, may have reached 90 tanks per month,” says the report, a reference tool key for defense analysts.

Russia’s stockpiled supplies mean that Moscow “could potentially sustain about three more years of heavy losses and replenish its tanks with supplies, albeit at lower technical standards, regardless of its ability to produce new equipment,” the report said.

Russia has an active force of 1,750 main battle tanks, ranging from decades-old T-55s to modern T-80s and T-90s, Military Balance said. He has another 4,000 in storage.

“The situation highlights a growing sense of stalemate in the fighting that could persist until 2024,” Military Balance said.

The Russian Defense Ministry declined to comment.

The US Senate is set to pass an additional military aid bill for Ukraine this week.

With the conflict entering its third year, Ukrainian commanders have signaled they are ready to continue crushing Russian forces on a 1,000-kilometer (600-mile) front.

In an interview with Reuters in January, then-Ground Forces Commander Oleksandr Syrskyi said defense remained the priority although he did not rule out further offensive operations.

“Our objectives remain the same: to hold our positions… to exhaust the enemy by inflicting maximum losses,” said Syrskyi, who last week replaced Valeriy Zaluzhnyi, the popular leader of Ukrainian forces in the darkest days of the invasion.

Some analysts said the situation could test the ability of Russia’s vast arms industry to produce new tanks and other weapons amid Western sanctions.

Military Balance noted that Russian industry executives have boasted of increased military production, while Russian officials have noted plans to resume production of the T-80 tank.

“It’s an astonishing figure,” said Singaporean defense analyst Alexander Neill, referring to the estimate of 3,000 tanks lost.

“Some of these could have been older tanks, so one of the big questions is how many of its more advanced tanks are left for any future major offensives,” added Neill, an adjunct fellow at the Pacific Forum think tank in Hawaii.

More generally, the report finds that global defense spending increased 9% compared to 2022 and is set to increase further in 2024.

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