Ukraine Hauls 1970s Russian Weapons Left Behind By Fleeing Russians

A Ukrainian soldier inspects a captured Russian tank on the outskirts of Izyum, Kharkiv province, on September 14. Kyiv's counterattack has delivered military equipment as well as territory. GETTY IMAGES

Ukraine’s counteroffensive is delivering big gains in territory—plus a large number of Russian military vehicles that are set to be used against the invaders.

Since President Vladimir Putin launched his full-scale invasion of Ukraine on February 24, open-source tracker Oryx has been keeping tabs on Russian equipment. It monitors how many vehicles have been destroyed or seized, verifying this with photo or video evidence.

Ukrainian soldiers raised flag in Izium.

Citing Oryx, Ukrainian news outlet TSN said Kyiv’s forces had captured 388 pieces of Russian equipment between September 7 and 11. Of this total, 200 “are in good condition.”

The Russian losses in that period include 49 T-72 tanks, 24 armored personnel carriers, 32 artillery vehicles and multiple launch rocket systems (MLRS), and two planes.

Ukrainian soldier with captured tank
A Ukrainian soldier inspects a captured Russian tank on the outskirts of Izyum, Kharkiv province, on September 14. Kyiv’s counterattack has delivered military equipment as well as territory.GETTY IMAGES

According to the latest Oryx update, Russia has lost 5,122 tanks in total during the conflict. Of these, 4071 have been destroyed, 51 abandoned, 44 damaged and 356 captured.

In total, Russia has lost 16,049 pieces of military equipment in the war. More than half of these (8,768) have been destroyed.

Newsweek has contacted the Russian defense ministry and Oryx for comment.

The equipment will provide another boost to Kyiv’s troops after Russian forces surrendered more than 3,100 square miles to their advance in around a week. Foreign Policy magazine has cited a Ukrainian military official as saying the seized equipment will be used against the Kremlin’s fighters.

“They just left their tanks, artillery, special equipment, a lot of armor, and were just trying to save their lives,” said the official, speaking on condition of anonymity. “They will be used against Russia.”

Since the counteroffensive began, a number of images have been shared on social media of Ukrainian soldiers posing in front of captured Russian tanks in Kharkiv.

These images come as Ukraine renews calls for the U.S and its European allies to send tanks. Modern NATO-grade main battle tanks, such as the M1 Abrams or the German Leopard, are high on Kyiv’s wishlist, according to Foreign Policy.

Kyiv has criticized Berlin for rejecting its request for tanks, although Germany has delivered howitzers and self-propelled anti-aircraft weapons.

Gustav Gressel, senior policy fellow at the European Council on Foreign Relations, has said Soviet-era T-72 tanks are playing an important role in Ukraine’s counteroffensive and that Poland has backfilled Kyiv’s forces, with deliveries also coming from Bulgaria and the Czech Republic.

Map of Ukraine gains
A graphic produced by Newsweek shows Ukraine’s gains in its counteroffensive as of September 13NEWSWEEK

However, in emailed comments to Newsweek, Gressel said: “Ukraine will have to transition to Western tanks one way or the other,” adding that there was an abundance of Leopard 2 tanks that “could be delivered after a relatively short overhaul.”

He said crews in a Leopard 2 had a better chance of surviving a hit than troops in the T-72. With the war seven months old, he added, experienced tank crews and commanders were “increasingly rare on both sides.”

“Using the Leopard 2 to equip Ukrainian armed forces would allow relatively fast supplies of significant quantities of tanks,” Gressel said.

© 2022, GDC. © GDC and Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.