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Russia removed up to 40% of its best strategic tank reserves to sustain war effort

A destroyed Russian tank near Kyiv, April 20, 2022
A destroyed Russian tank near Kyiv, April 20, 2022

Open-source researchers analyzed satellite imagery and assessed that Russia has reportedly removed 25 to 40 percent of its tank strategic reserves, depending on the model, from open-air storage facilities, the U.S.-based think tank Institute for the Study of War (ISW) wrote on March 9, noting that it cannot independently verify this report.

Carnegie Endowment for International Peace’s Russia and Eurasia Program Senior Fellow Dara Massicot assessed that Russia likely removed its best equipment from strategic reserve and that Russia still retains “worse” or “unsalvageable” equipment in storage.

Read also: Russia ramps up arms production, prepares for extended war — The Telegraph

Massicot also assessed that Russia’s “remaining inventory will dwindle in the next couple of years” if Russia continues its current tempo of operations.

ISW has observed that reports of Russia’s reported tank “production” numbers in recent years largely reflect restored and modernized tanks drawn from storage rather than new production.

Read also: Oryx analysts: Russia could run out of combat vehicles in six months at current loss rate

These assessments suggest that the Russian military has been largely leveraging vehicles from storage to sustain its war effort, rather than using new production to offset battlefield losses. Russia may face equipment shortages in the next several years if Russia’s current loss rate remains the same or accelerates and Russia’s current level of new vehicle production remains the same.

In late January, CIA Director William Burns reported that Russia had lost at least 315,000 soldiers killed or wounded and two-thirds of its pre-war tank stockpile since the start of the full-scale invasion.

Forbes reported on Jan. 10 that during Russia's full-scale war against Ukraine, the aggressor state lost at least 2,619 tanks – at least 90% of the total number of tanks in their inventory.

On Jan. 26, The Telegraph reported that Russia intensified arms production and geared up for at least three to four more years of war.

Russia produced 1,530 tanks and 2,518 armored fighting vehicles in 2023, said Sergei Shoigu, the newspaper wrote, citing the Russian defense minister. Shoigu announced an increase in tank production by 560% since February 2022, combat vehicles by 360%, and armored personnel carriers by 350%.

Earlier, Forbes reported that at the current monthly loss rate, Moscow had a six-month reserve of combat vehicles, far beyond a sustainable level for Russian forces.

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Read the original article on The New Voice of Ukraine