Russian forces operating in Ukraine have lost 15 tanks in a single day, Kyiv said on Sunday.
Writing in its daily update on Facebook, the General Staff of Ukraine’s Armed Forces said the 15 tanks had been taken out of action, alongside a further 15 armored personnel vehicles. Eight Russian artillery systems and two unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), or drones, had also been destroyed in the previous 24 hours, according to Ukraine’s military.
By Kyiv’s count, Sunday’s update brings Russia’s total tank losses to 3,595. Ukraine’s military has repeatedly shared footage online of Russian tanks being targeted, and many Western analysts say Russia has sustained heavy tank losses at Ukraine’s hands over the course of the war.
Kyiv’s count comes in higher than many Western estimates, including Dutch open-source verification outlet, Oryx. As of Sunday, it placed Russia’s visually confirmed tank losses at 1,889. The website lists 1,137 as “destroyed” and 552 as “captured” by Ukrainian forces.
A Ukrainian serviceman stands near a destroyed Russian tank in the northeastern city of Trostyanets, on March 29, 2022. Russian forces lost 15 tanks in a single day, Kyiv said on Sunday.
FADEL SENNA/AFP via Getty Images
In its daily report on Saturday, Russia’s defense ministry said Ukraine had lost 8,399 tanks and other armored combat vehicles since February 24, 2022.
On Saturday, Russian President Vladimir Putin said Moscow would produce and upgrade a total of more than 1,600 tanks in the next three years. Russia will have at least “three times” the number of tanks at its disposal compared to Ukraine, Putin told state media.
But the targets laid out by Putin ignore Russia’s “limited industrial capacity” to quickly produce advanced tanks, as well as their losses on the battlefield, the Washington-based Institute for the Study of War (ISW) think tank said on Saturday.
It would take six years for Russia’s only tank manufacturer to hit this figure at its current production rate, the think tank added. Moscow will therefore need to take old tanks from storage and refurbish others to hit Putin’s figure, the ISW said.
Russia would need to produce 1,350 tanks in the next nine months to keep its stocks at current levels, the ISW calculated.
In early February, Dmitry Medvedev, the former Russian president and current deputy chairman of Russia’s security council, said Moscow would be increasing its modern tank production after Western countries donated main battle tanks to Ukraine.
“It is clear that in this case, it is natural for us to increase production of various armaments including modern tanks,” he said on February 9.
The British defense ministry has called Russia’s military production a “critical weakness,” heavily impacted by the war in Ukraine. Writing on Twitter on February 15, the ministry said production is “almost certainly” failing to meet Russia’s defense ministry’s demands.
Russia lost up to 50 percent of its key pre-war tank fleet in the first nine months of fighting, the International Institute for Strategic Studies said back in mid-February. The ISW also estimated at the time that Russia likely lost half of the tanks it deployed in the war.