New data suggests Ukraine could have more battle-ready tanks than Russia for the first time since the start of Moscow’s full-scale invasion.

Kyiv’s supply of tanks has steadily increased over the past year as its western allies pledge more and more weaponry, while the Kremlin has taken heavy losses and faces major obstacles in replenishing its supplies.

Which begs the questions, how many tanks does Russia actually have, how many are likely to be deployed to Ukraine and particularly, after a year of fighting a very capable AFU, how many tanks does Russia actually have left in Ukraine?

could be interesting for you:

Russian tank losses

According to the latest data, Ukraine currently has around 1,400 active tanks compared to Russia’s 1,300.

Military analysts and armchair generals watching the conflict generally agreed that in February 2022 Russia had about 3,400 main battle tanks of late Cold War or early 2000s vintage at its disposal and battle-ready, with somewhere between 8,000 and 10,000 in storage.

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In stark contrast, Ukraine only had 987, according to The Military Balance for 2023.

Since February 2022, Ukraine and Russia have faced very different realities when it comes to weaponry.

Ukraine has received 471 additional tanks with a further 286 due to arrive, according to data published by the Kiel Institute for the World Economy, mostly Germany’s Leopard 2 tank as well as smaller numbers of the US-made M1A3 Abrams and British Challenger 2.

The Dutch military analytical group Oryx, estimates Ukraine has lost 560 tanks but has captured almost as many Russian tanks – 544.

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This gives a current total of 1,442 not including the 286 still due to arrive.

Russia’s situation is far bleaker. According to Oryx, of the 3,400 tanks Russia began the full-scale invasion with, at least 2,098 tanks lost to all causes. 

Allowing for Russia’s limited tank production capability which has been hit hard by western sanctions and the general economic situation, this gives somewhere in the region of a current total of 1,400.

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The figures should be treated with a degree of caution – the numbers from Oryx likely underestimate losses on both sides as they only use independently-confirmed information, usually open-source photographs of a destroyed or captured Russian tank, to register a loss.

A destroyed Russian tank is photographed in the town of Svyatogirsk, Donetsk region on March 1. PHOTO: AFP.

Meanwhile, there are no reliable sources for the numbers of new tanks built by Russia, nor how many they have brought out of storage. The actual number of Russian tank losses in Ukraine is a Kremlin military secret, as is Russian industry’s capacity to replace them. 

But the latest data on Russian tank numbers roughly tally with recent comments made by the UK’s Chief of the Defense Staff, Tony Radakin, earlier this week who told the British parliament that Moscow “has lost nearly half the combat effectiveness of its army.” 

He added: “Last year it fired 10 million artillery shells but at best can produce 1 million shells a year. It has lost 2,500 tanks and at best can produce 200 tanks a year.”

Ukrainian sources put the number of Russian losses far higher – Ukraine’s Army General Staff (AGS) per its July 7 morning situation estimate reported AFU units have to date claimed they knocked out, destroyed or captured 4,078 Russian main battle tanks since the start of the war – more tanks than the entire active duty Russian army had operational at the start of 2022.

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‘World-Beating’ T-14 Armata Tank

Russian media in April claimed Moscow had deployed its cutting-edge T-14 Armata tank to fighting in Ukraine, against a background of skepticism the weapons system would reach the field, and, according to some Kremlin critics, ever be combat capable.

Billed as Russia’s answer to the US-made M1A3 Abrams, British Challenger 2, and Germany’s Leopard 2 tank, Moscow’s T-14 Armata is equipped, according to an RIA report, with a remote-controlled turret, enhanced crew protection, composite ceramic-and-steel layered armor, explosive reactive armor blocks, and a sensor-activated defense system that automatically launches interceptor charges to defeat incoming missiles and anti-tank shells.

The Armata’s 125mm cannon can fire missiles and is capable of accurate fire out to eight kilometers, the article claimed.

A Russian T 14 Armata tank rides through Red Square in Moscow, on May 7, 2015. PHOTO: AFP

A weapon in development since the mid-2000s, and in recent years prominently profiled in Red Army parades as evidence of growing Russian military power, the Armata has become to some Kremlin critics a symbol of an inefficient Russian army leadership focused on media images rather than real combat capacity.

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Regardless of its supposed firepower, the T-14 Armata has yet to have any significant impact in Ukraine.

Museum Piece T-54/55s

But what about the tens of thousands of tanks Russia has in storage? While the numbers may sound impressive, the tanks themselves are not.

On numerous occasions over the last few months, videos posted to social media have shown train-loads of obsolete tanks, some dating from World War 2, heading into Ukraine.

The latest such incident saw Russian army T-54/55 tanks spotted in the Voronezh region, on their way to Russian-occupied Crimea.

“They’re ancient, like mammoth poo,” someone can be heard saying on the film.

Commercial satellite imagery, produced by Maxar Technologies, from as early as the summer of 2022 continuing into the autumn, showed the movement of old T-62 tanks from storage at Russia’s 1295th Central Tank Reserve and Storage Base in, Prymorskyi Krai region.

Then, in March 2022, footage began to appear on social media of the even older T-54 and T-55 tanks being transported by rail from the Arsenyev base, which raised widespread speculation that these armored vehicles, which were built in the 1960s, were also being deployed to the Ukrainian front.

Experts initially presumed that these tanks would then be modernized and upgraded before being sent to the frontlines.

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However, the T-54/55s seen in Ukraine appear to have received no enhancements and have been deployed in the same condition as when they were placed in storage. They appear to lack any of the protective features seen on some of the enhanced variants of the 1990s, or even the 1980s. 

Instead, the T54/T55s may prove more useful as static gun emplacements as Russia has sought to increase its defensive line in the face of Ukraine’s summer offensive.

The tank could be dug in so that only its turret can be seen above ground to defend a front line against counterattacks. Another use could be as an additional artillery system, to provide indirect fire support to mobile Russian forces, operating from one ‘tactical bound’ behind advancing troops.

It is also likely that, as they run low on conventional artillery ammunition, Russian forces may have stocks of the 100mm ammunition used by the tank which includes high explosive-fragmentation, as well as anti-tank rounds.

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Comments (12)

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Mark
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You people have no dignity. Even kids wouldn't believe in your stories for naïve people.

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Erik Jager
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Covert Cabal YouTube site is best source of information on Russian tanks.

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David
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Antique Russian tanks have better protection and heavier guns than Ukrainian Bradley and other IFVs. These T55 and T62 would still have a useful role in countering lightly armored Ukrainian infantry fighting vehicles and sabotage groups making quick break through into to rear areas .
These need to be accompanied by javelin anti tank and Avenger anti air crews.

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Oslo
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Russia does delusions well it underestimated everything. From Ukrainian resistance to Natos response to its military compatance. There loss tanks is just another sign of its monumental lack at seeing reality. There will be more tanks for the Ukraine and F16s and long range missles you can't win this horror show your created. If you had joined the world instead you chose to be the villan. What a sick joke you are a snake eating its tail.

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Vangel
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Sorry, but the reality seems very different from the narrative. The new Leopard tanks didn't work well, and the issue comes down to the ISR systems. Ukrainian soldiers are brave and have some good equipment. But they are far too vulnerable because they lack the overhead protection. If you use tanks, you better have the ability to prevent the enemy from firing freely at them because we cannot afford to have a single soldier firing a $26K Kornet missile destroy a $15 million Leopard. I don't see Ukraine's military having enough of what it needs to hold the Russians back, let alone win.

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Petar,Zemun
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The last time anyone won with tanks was in the 2ww. Nowadays they are tin cans for target practicing.

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Michael Sparkes
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What’s Putin’s biggest accomplishment? He has succeeded in turning the Russian army (self-proclaimed second best army in the world) into… the third best army in Ukraine.

On realising Russia was losing the war Putin met Stalin in a dream and sought his advice: “Stalin, how can I win the war?” Stalin gave him advice: “Send five million Russians to their death in Ukraine and paint the Kremlin blue.” “Why blue?” asked Putin. Stalin chuckled to himself “I knew you wouldn’t have a problem with the first part.”

Later Putin was overheard talking to a portrait of himself. Putin asked “When not if we lose the war what will happen?” The portrait replied “They’ll take me down and hang you instead!” No wonder Putin’s favourite song is Crimea river by Wagner. Talking of Wagner, the real reason Prigozhin abandoned his march on Moscow was that his army had run out of hot dogs because he couldn’t cut the mustard anymore?

…. and to think I thought Putin was a prim and proper President until I read the epic spy novel Beyond Enkription in The Burlington Files series to finish off my MI6 induction program ... At least now I know why Putin spells Ukraine, Mykraine, how Volodymyr Oleksandrovych Zelenskyy learnt to spell his own name. For more beguiling anecdotes best read a brief and intriguing News Article about Pemberton’s People in MI6 dated 31 October 2022 in TheBurlingtonFiles website and then read Beyond Enkription. #SlávaUkrayíni

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Victor
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America is honoring its' commitment to defending Ukraine per the Budapest Memorandum, and understanding that a loss in Ukraine will threaten Europe. Japan and Germany learned to never again have dreams of empire and to not threaten its' neighbors. Russia did not. Ukraine is in pain but is saving its heritage, language, culture, freedoms and future generations from the evil that is Russia. Conversations with Russia is worthless and foolish: they only understand pain. Give them more understanding. Slava Ukraini.

Chris
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@Victor, Most Americans have forgotten the Budapest Memorandum, (China definitely has while France only dips its toes in).

The fact is we can use the cold war inventory stocks we built up against Russia now without us doing the dying (it's not like we'd be using tanks or artillery on the Pacific against China) or let Russia gain Ukraine which would increase Russia's might by 20% or more and give them a large border with many weak NATO nations.

An investment today greatly hurts Russia (working age men, economy, political power, sphere of influence, reputation, etc we've basically ruined them as a world power for the next 30 years), mostly uses up weapons we had in storage to kill Russians anyway, makes Ukraine a militarized border state that will keep Russia in check in the future (just as S. Korea balances N. Korea or Taiwan+Japan balances China), and makes it obvious to every tyrant that it is a mistake to invade a Western nation.

Russia created Transnistria+Abkhazia to keep Moldova+Georgia on it's toes, well once this war ends Russia won't dare attack anyone because they have to watch Ukraine.

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Isaiah
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You are being misled to kill yourselves for the benefits of the western world, you even rely on pledged equipment, both you and Russia will never be winners of this war, Americans will be the winners after you have destroyed your countries, but worst of all, Ukraine is the American sucrificial lamb that is to die for the western world. Better sit down the 2 of you and discuss your security concerns and hurmonise them. Remember how Iraq was destroyed on false hoods, Syria, Libya etc. Never rely on some one who does feel the pain of the war he is financing. Ukraine you are loosing you children on daily basis, and the western world is saying push on we are behind you, indeed they are behind you not on the front

amir
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@Isaiah, says the Russian bot!

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Ademeion
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@Isaiah,
So if I come to your house and start to carry away your stuff, we can agree to harmonise our interests, and I take only part of it? If your neighbour comes to your help, I’ll say he’s behind the whole thing. Sounds good?

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Thomas Sparrevohn
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On the validity on that assesment I recommend the analysis of Perun today - the analysis is sound but the Bloomberg data is not see https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PnvJzup8i-c&t=4s

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Andrew Lockett
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Ah yes the rare and exclusive t-14 armata boutique MBT. So rare and exclusive in fact that the pretend moskal military veteran, preening pen pusher shoigu, couldn't even identify one if he was doing his signature showboating on the crest of it's gun turret! Bet it's plush in that phony front lines command post that the fake military veteran never actually visits.

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Eric Zimmerman
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It's truly impressive that brave Ukranians have destroyed or captured so many of russia's tanks. It's also hilarious that all of the Putin fanboys were laughing that nato was originally sending "12 tanks" like that was all they were going to send. Now they've delivered 471 with another 286 on their way. Probably more too, I would guess as nato countries pass aid packages pretty much weekly. Not to mention the thousands of APC's, IFV's and self propelled howitzers, etc that were sent along with them. I don't think the vatniks grasped the fact that the decision to send armor was such a monumental one. They may have been laughing when nato sent those "12 tanks," but it seems the Ukranians are laughing now.

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