Russia lost more than 8,144 main battle tanks of T-54, T-64, T-72, T-80 and T-90 models

One of the T-90Ms destroyed in Ukraine.

Russia has sustained high losses of tanks since President Vladimir Putin invaded Ukraine more than two years ago, and may have just a few thousand of the armored fighting vehicles left, artificial intelligence (AI) analysis of satellite imagery suggests.

German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung (SZ) trained an AI model to examine satellite imagery of 87 Russian military sites—including 16 bases where tanks, artillery vehicles and armored personnel carriers are stored.

The AI model counted the number of tanks at these key sites prior to the beginning of Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, up until the present day, to determine the scale of the country’s tank losses in the war.

One of these bases, the 111th Central Tank Reserve Base of the Army in southeastern Russia, which housed 857 tanks in April 2021, is now nearly empty, satellite imagery suggests. Just months into the war, in October 2022, Russia had lost nearly half of these tanks, the newspaper found. Analysis of other military sites painted a similar picture, SZ said.

Michael Gjerstad is a research analyst for defense and military analysis at the London-based International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS). He told SZ that he estimates Russia “still has around 3,200 tanks in stock.”

“But the vast majority of them are in a bad condition and require significant repairs,” Gjerstad said.

Both Moscow and Kyiv have sustained significant tank losses in the war so far, according to publicly available data.

Dutch open-source intelligence defense analysis website Oryx has visually confirmed that 8,144 Russian tanks have been destroyed, 159 damaged, 352 abandoned, and 518 captured since the start of the full-scale war in Ukraine.

Oryx has added that 581 Ukrainian tanks have been destroyed since the beginning of the war, with 72 damaged, 67 abandoned, and 134 captured.

On Thursday, Kyiv’s military said Moscow had lost 8,042 tanks since Russia launched its full-scale invasion, including three in the past 24 hours. The General Staff of Ukraine’s Armed Forces posts figures on Russia’s troop and equipment losses as part of its daily update on the war. Newsweek couldn’t independently verify Kyiv’s figures.

Estimates of casualties and equipment losses in the war vary, with Ukraine’s figures usually exceeding those of its Western allies. Moscow rarely shares information on the number of casualties or equipment losses it has sustained in the war.

Gustav Gressel, a senior policy fellow with the international think tank European Council on Foreign Relations, told SZ he is certain that Russia is “losing far more equipment than it can replace, and stocks are running out.”

“It is therefore important for Ukraine to inflict such high material losses on the Russians that things will become critical for them at some point,” Gressel said.

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