According to military officials, the speedy victory by the Armed Forces of Ukraine in Kharkiv Region a month ago resulted in Russian forces leaving behind heavy weapons and supply depots in a disorganised retreat, providing the Ukrainians with hundreds of pieces of Russian armour.

While some Russian weapons could be used immediately, others had to be repaired before they could be deployed again. Importantly, Russia has also left behind a substantial portion of Soviet-era artillery shells,  the supply of which had almost run out in Ukraine.

This supply is assisting Ukrainian forces as they advance further east into neighbouring Luhansk Region and retake areas of eastern Donetsk Region, including the town of Lyman. Along with gains in the south, Kyiv has regained more than 4,000 square miles of territory in the east over the past month.

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One Ukrainian battalion, the Carpathian Sich, reportedly captured five 152-mm 2S5 Giatsint self-propelled howitzers and 10 contemporary T-80 tanks after entering the town of Izyum in Kharkiv Region last month, according to recent comments made by Ruslan Andriyko, the deputy chief of staff said.

“We’ve got so many trophies that we don’t even know what to do with them,” he stated. “We started off as an infantry battalion, and now we are sort of becoming a mechanized battalion,” he underlined.

According to the head of a Ukrainian artillery battalion, his unit on the Kharkiv front now employs four recently-captured Russian 2S19 Msta 152-mm self-propelled howitzers in addition to American-made weapons and has an ample supply of Soviet-caliber ammunition.

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“The Russians no longer have a firepower advantage. We smashed up all their artillery units before launching the offensive, and then we started to move ahead so fast that they didn’t even have time to fuel up and load their tanks,” the officer revealed. “They just fled and left everything behind.”

According to open-source intelligence analysts, these most recent victories, along with the weapons seized during Russia’s retreat from Kyiv and other areas of northern Ukraine in April, have made Moscow by far the largest supplier of heavy weapons for Ukraine, far outpacing the United States or other allies in terms of sheer numbers. However, the weapons supplied by the West are typically more sophisticated and accurate.

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According to evidence gathered from social media and news reports by Oryx, an open-source intelligence consulting firm, Ukraine has seized 460 Russian main battle tanks, 92 self-propelled howitzers, 448 infantry fighting vehicles, 195 armoured combat vehicles, and 44 multiple-launch rocket systems. Since not every piece of equipment that is captured is filmed, the actual number is probably greater.

 

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