TASS described how Uralvagonzavod, a Russian machine-building company and the biggest battle tank manufacturer in the world, held a “ceremonial departure” for the latest batch of tanks produced by the facility.
“The ceremony was attended by managers and employees of the enterprise. At the final stage of preparation, drawings and letters from the children of tank builders, as well as Orthodox icons, were put into the vehicles as a sign of respect and support for the servicemen,” TASS reported.
Other local news reports revealed how the tanks, before being shipped off for combat, were embedded with drawings and letters from local children as well as religious icons, including the patron saint of the military, Dmitry Donskoy.
“These are symbols of our support for Russian soldiers, a sign of respect and faith in their courage,” Ivan Kukartsev, the leader of a local youth organization said.
T-90M – Can Russia Produce Enough New Tanks?
Despite Uralvagonzavod being the biggest manufacturer of battle tanks in the world, Russia can’t keep up with the demand for new weapons and military vehicles. Russian forces have already lost an estimated 650 tanks during the war in Ukraine, as well as over 3,000 armored vehicles. The true number of lost tanks could be much higher, and Ukraine estimates that the true figure is closer to 1,200.
Video footage of the T-90M ceremony show less than two dozen tanks being rolled out of the factory. Each tank also costs an estimated $4.5 million USD – making replacing those lost tanks a costly and timely endeavor.
In April, the Pentagon said that Russia was running short of precision missiles and its arms factories were unable to produce enough new rockets to keep up with demand. The shortage of modern precision-guided missiles meant that Russian forces are now forced to rely more heavily on older missiles and other Soviet-era ammunition.
With Russian forces still struggling to make new gains in the eastern Donbas region of Ukraine, a continual supply of new tanks has become necessary. Russia must rely entirely on its own arms manufacturers to supply them, however, meaning Russian President Vladimir Putin may soon be faced with a difficult decision.
At this rate, replenishing Russia’s supply of tanks could take several years – and Ukrainian forces could be only a matter of weeks away from pushing Russian forces back over the border in some parts of eastern Ukraine.
Jack Buckby is a British author, counter-extremism researcher, and journalist based in New York. Reporting on the U.K., Europe, and the U.S., he works to analyze and understand left-wing and right-wing radicalization, and reports on Western governments’ approaches to the pressing issues of today. His books and research papers explore these themes and propose pragmatic solutions to our increasingly polarized society.