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Russia Claims it Destroyed 5,000 ‘Tanks’ in Ukraine

Stridsvagn 122
Swedish soldiers fire their Stridsvagn 122 main battle tank gun while conducting offensive lane operations during the Strong Europe Tank Challenge, Grafenwoehr, Germany, June 7, 2018. The Swedish soldiers are assigned to the Wartofta Tank Company, Skaraborg Regiment. U.S. Army Europe and the German Army co-host the third Strong Europe Tank Challenge at Grafenwoehr Training Area, June 3-8, 2018. The Strong Europe Tank Challenge is an annual training event designed to give participating nations a dynamic, productive military partnerships, form soldier-level relationships and share tactics, techniques and procedures. Army photo by Gertrud Zach

Russia makes a bold claim: to have killed 5,000 tanks in Ukraine – The Russian news outlet TASS reported that Russian forces destroyed hundreds of military equipment belonging to Ukrainian fighters during a “special operation” in the country.

According to the release, “A total of 293 aircraft, 155 helicopters, 1,981 unmanned aerial vehicles, 375 anti-aircraft missile systems, 5,022 tanks and other armored combat vehicles, 837 multiple rocket launcher combat vehicles, 3,397 field artillery guns and mortars as well as 5,680 special military vehicles have been destroyed since the start of the special military operation.”

This supposed ‘news’ comes amidst Ukraine’s successful counteroffensive launched earlier this month, which resulted in the Kremlin calling up its military reserves.

Numerous reports, videos, and sources on the ground in Ukraine have documented Russia’s struggle to achieve its outlined war objectives due to Ukraine’s intense resistance. Supplied with Western drones, missiles, anti-tank weapons and more, Ukraine has essentially humiliated Russia’s capabilities on the battleground.

For these reasons, the TASS report likely has little value or merit.

Putin calls up reserves

Earlier this week, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced that military reserves are to be called up to join the country’s war efforts in Ukraine.

This announcement followed Ukraine’s quick and impressive gains in the eastern part of the country. Ukraine has advanced in the Kharkiv region, disrupting Russian lines. Moscow has utilized Kupiansk since the onset of its invasion in February since it is a critical rail center.

A spokesperson for the Ukrainian military said that “In recent days, more than 386 square miles of Ukrainian territory have been liberated from the occupiers,” adding that “Units wedged themselves into the enemy’s defenses to a depth of up to 20 miles. More than 30 settlements temporarily occupied by the Russian invaders in the Kharkiv region were liberated or taken under control.”

By calling up its reserves, Putin is revealing that his government is aware of the dire position his forces remain in on the ground.

Additionally, Russia’s Defense Minister Segei Shogu gave the country’s second casualty announcement since the beginning of the invasion, proclaiming that around 6,000 soldiers have been killed.

However, the U.S. Pentagon believes this number is likely tenfold this estimate in reality. Russian soldiers were clearly not as prepared to carry out the Kremlin’s objectives in Ukraine than the country’s propaganda efforts would portend.

Russia’s tanks have particularly suffered

While Moscow is suggesting its forces have taken out thousands of Ukrainian tanks, Ukrainian forces have actually deployed captured Russian tanks to partake in their advances in the northeast.

The Institute of the Study of War reported that Ukraine has been making use of the left-behind T-72 main battle tanks, which Russian forces discarded due to the “initial panic of the counteroffensive.”

In addition to possessing Russia’s most advanced tank being used in the invasion, Ukraine has also acquired top-of-the-line anti-tank weapons, including the American-made FGM-148 Javelin, the Swedish AT4 and the British NLAW.

According to Ukrainian news outlets, Moscow has lost at least 4,116 armored combat vehicles since February due to the wrath of advanced anti-tank missiles. Other estimates place the number of destroyed tanks at 1,000, although this is difficult to verify.

Regardless of the exact number, videos have circulated depicting Javelins demolishing Russian T-72 tanks, showcasing that having access to these sophisticated anti-tank weapons has been critical for Ukraine’s defensive strategy.

The United Kingdom’s Ministry of Defense also confirmed imagery depicting Russian T-62 tanks traveling through Ukraine earlier this summer, noting that “As a result of losses during hostilities, the Russian enemy was forced to withdraw from storage T-62 tanks to recruit reserve battalion tactical groups that are being formed to be sent to Ukraine.”

Clearly, Russian forces – and their tanks – are struggling to maintain the Kremlin’s war objectives. The claim that Moscow has taken out thousands of Ukrainian tanks and other military equipment is fiction at best. After Putin announced a ‘partial mobilization,’ thousands of Russians were seen fleeing the country’s borders.

The Kremlin is likely spewing propaganda, including the latest TASS report, to incentivize its citizens to stay and fight its botched invasion of Ukraine.

Maya Carlin is a Middle East Defense Editor with 19FortyFive. She is also an analyst with the Center for Security Policy and a former Anna Sobol Levy Fellow at IDC Herzliya in Israel. She has by-lines in many publications, including The National Interest, Jerusalem Post, and Times of Israel.

Written By

Maya Carlin is an analyst with the Center for Security Policy and a former Anna Sobol Levy Fellow at IDC Herzliya in Israel. She has by-lines in many publications, including The National Interest, Jerusalem Post, and Times of Israel.

5 Comments

5 Comments

  1. Putin is a terrorist

    September 25, 2022 at 10:02 am

    What no claims to have destroyed more HIMARS than was sent to Ukraine? 5000 tanks when they only started with 2500?

    I guess they were counting all those wood HIMARS decoys!

  2. Jon

    September 25, 2022 at 11:28 am

    Fascinating that Russia has destroyed more than 5,000 Ukrainian tanks, since Ukraine seems to have possessed less than 1,600 tanks prior to the start of this war. Russia has also claimed to have destroyed more HIMARS than Ukraine has been provided. While both Ukraine and Russia have engaged in various types of information operations throughout this conflict, Ukrainian claims for Russian forces attrited have consistently been much more reliable.

  3. Jack

    September 25, 2022 at 5:31 pm

    Nobody believes anything coming out of Russia anymore…

  4. from Russia with love

    September 26, 2022 at 8:46 am

    @Jon
    no, there is nothing surprising in this. The fact is that the Western media no longer know how to publish information and not lie at the same time.
    The Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation claims that they destroyed, I quote, “5114 tanks and other armored combat vehicles.” these 5114, in addition to tanks, include infantry fighting vehicles, armored personnel carriers, armored vehicles, BREM, BRDM, MTLB and other armored vehicles. all this armor, including about 300 T72 tanks delivered from Poland (more than 100 have already burned down in the Kherson direction), is actively supplied to Ukraine from neighboring countries. if you are going to count all the armor supplied to Ukraine, then you need to count all the Soviet-style equipment in the EU. for example, Greece is now waiting for a decision to replace its BMP-1s with German BMPs and is going to supply about 100 BMP-1s to Ukraine.
    according to HIMARS, Russia claimed 7 destroyed. yesterday about 1 more, that is, about 8. you need to ask your prostitutes with a pen as a result of what manipulations did they manage to come up with nonsense about 40 destroyed HIMARS launchers from the statement of the Russian Ministry of Defense about 40 downed HIMARS missiles.😎
    Ukrainian statements about the depletion of Russian forces? These are the statements that have been made for 10 months? is it about the fact that Russia already ran out of missiles 9 months ago, which for some reason continue to arrive at Ukrainian military facilities every day, and that the shells have run out, which for some reason also continue to rain heavily on the heads of the Armed Forces of Ukraine right now? yes… very reliable..😎👍 you can’t argue here…🤦‍♂️
    Do you still have a question for Western journalists who grossly distort the facts?😉

  5. Gideon Marcus

    October 16, 2022 at 12:25 pm

    “And other combat vehicles” of course includes tractors, wagons, tricycles…

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