Russia has failed to effectively shield its tanks from weapons sent to Ukraine from the United States, leading to significant losses in its wartime effort, according to The Moscow Times, an English-language, Russia-based online publication.
Citing the Times’ reporting, the Russian troops have also struggled to maximize certain strategic initiatives against Ukraine.
“Tanks are supposed to fight as part of combined formations; but in terms of how they’ve been tactically used, Russia hasn’t done that effectively,” said Nick Reynolds, a military expert at London’s Royal United Services Institute.
When Russian President Vladimir Putin launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine on Feb. 24, some military analysts predicted a quick takeover of the neighboring country. But as the ongoing war concludes its fifth full month, “weaknesses in the Kremlin’s military are becoming more apparent,” says the Times.
As a result, Russia has had to account for the unexpected volume of losses of human personnel and military weaponry.
For example, back in April, the Center of Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) estimated that Russia had more than 2,800 military tanks at its immediate disposal, with another 10,000 in storage.
The T-90M battle tank comprised a large share of the tank fleet, the highest-quality arsenal in Putin’s possession, according to the Times. The T-90Ms feature a multi-channel sighting system, a turret with more armor plating, and a prodigiously powerful main gun.
However, Russia has yet to assert its dominance over Ukraine, despite the supposed technological advantages with tanks.
Ukraine’s Ministry of Defense estimates that Russia has lost 1,687 tanks since the onset of the war. There are also reports of significant losses to Russian aircraft, artillery systems, and other military-grade vehicles.
On Sunday, United Kingdom Defence Chief Sir Tony Radakin said that declining morale among Russian troops has led to military leaders being unable to sufficiently match people to weapons.
Consequently, Russia’s military recruiters have turned to the country’s expansive rural areas to attract more talent.
It’s a time-consuming process, though.
“The overall force is [still] struggling. They’re struggling in terms of their numbers, but they’re especially struggling in terms of their morale,” Radakin said.
“Wagner [a Russian military company] are lowering recruitment standards, hiring convicts and formerly blacklisted individuals. Very limited training is made available to new recruits,” the British Ministry of Defence said Monday.
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