How Many Tanks Has Ukraine Lost?
With Kiev’s desperate counteroffensive attempts still stuck in the mud, Russian forces keep marching on, laying Ukrainian tanks to waste in the special military operation zone.
Russian President Vladimir Putin
said on Saturday that Ukraine had suffered heavy losses in manpower and materiel during the course of Kiev's botched counteroffensive. He noted that the Ukrainian Armed Forces
had changed tactics, saying, “they bring people to the front line in armored vehicles, throw them out, and the equipment immediately vanishes. Apparently, they are preserving the equipment, they are afraid to lose it, and advance on foot.”
So how many tanks has Kiev already lost, and were there Western-made ones among them? Sputnik answers these and other questions.
What Tanks Does Ukraine Have?
When touching upon the Zelensky regime’s current tank fleet, it’s necessary to bear in mind that shortly after the onset of Russia's special military operation
in Ukraine, the US and its allies ramped up military aid to Kiev, including deliveries of Western main battle tanks (MBTs)
Before the start of the special operation, Kiev’s tank fleet mainly consisted of upgraded versions of the Soviet-made T-64 tank, including the T-64BM ‘Bulat’, in service since 2004, and the T-64BV, in service since 1984 (with part of the fleet upgraded in 2017).
According to the estimates of a London-based think tank, the Kiev regime had about 720 T-64s of various modifications in its arsenal in 2022, plus nearly 580 in storage. Additionally, Ukraine had stockpiles of about 200 mothballed T-80s, and about a dozen MBTs of its T-84 Oplot version, which entered into Ukrainian military service in the early 2000s.
On top of that, Ukraine’s stockpile of tanks included upgraded versions of the Soviet-era T-72 tanks, such as the T-72A, the T-72AB/B1, and the T-72AMT, which numbered a total of 750 (500 in storage).
How Did NATO Add to Ukraine's Tank Fleet?
The start of the special operation triggered a storm of tank deliveries by NATO members that included:
An undisclosed number of T-72M1
s from Bulgaria;
More than 170 T-72s
of various modifications from the Czech Republic;
from North Macedonia;
modernized T-72s and 60 PT-91 Twardy tanks from Poland (the Twardy is a modified version of the T-72M1);
28 M-55S tanks
from Slovenia (the M-55S is a modification of the Soviet-made T-55 tank)
Months later, Ukraine was supplied or promised deliveries of Western MBTs, among them:
modernized versions of the Leopard 1
, the West German MBT of the 1960s, which was produced until 1984 and promised to Kiev by Germany, the Netherlands, and Denmark;
Dozens of the Leopard 2
, the Leopard 1’s successor, which was pledged or supplied by Canada (8
tanks), Denmark (7
), Finland (6
), Germany (18
), the Netherlands (14
), Norway (8
), Poland (14
), Portugal (3
), Spain (10
), and Sweden (10
British MBTs - Challenger 2
- with one such tank tracked on the battlefield in Ukraine for the first time last month; most of the batch are expected next year;
US-made M1 Abrams
, which are expected to arrive in Kiev in September, amid reports that America “is sending older M1A1 models instead of the more modern A2 version, which would have taken a year to get to Ukraine.”
Is France's AMX-10 Tank On The Gift List?
The above-mentioned list doesn’t contain 30 French-made wheeled light “tanks” AMX-10 RC that Paris earlier committed to Kiev because many avoid calling it a tank as they prefer to refer to the AMX-10 as an armored vehicle.
In an interview with a European broadcaster, one Ukrainian commander minced no words when insisting that the AMX-10s are inadequate for the counteroffensive.
"They are used for supporting fire, because of their light armor. Their armament is good, their observation instruments are very good. But unfortunately it's light armor, which makes them unsuitable," the commander said.
Sizing Up Ukraine's Tank Losses: How Heavy Are They?
There are differences in terms of the Ukrainian tank losses-related figures revealed by Kiev and Moscow.
In an apparent nod to the period of Kiev’s counteroffensive attempt
, Ukrainian Ground Forces commander Volodymyr Karpenko recently told a US media outlet that the Kiev regime had lost half of its heavy weapons in the Russian special operation zone.
“We currently have about 30-40, and sometimes up to 50% of equipment losses as a result of active battles,” he said, adding that the Ukrainian army has lost 1,300 infantry fighting vehicles and 400 tanks since the start of the offensive on June 4.
Meanwhile, Kiev remains tight-lipped on how many tanks Ukraine has lost since the start of Moscow's special op.
Russian President Vladimir Putin, for his part, told reporters that as of June 4, “311 [Ukrainian] tanks have been destroyed” and that at least one-third of them were Western-made ones, “including Leopards.” He did not specify the Leopard tanks' modification.
Russia’s Ministry of Defense (MoD) earlier reported that Russian forces have destroyed a total of 10,430 Ukrainian tanks and other armored vehicles, such as armored personnel carriers (APCs) and infantry fighting vehicles (IFVs), since the beginning of the special operation.
It’s worth noting that the MoD first mentioned the destruction of the Leopard tanks a few days after the Zelensky regime had launched the Ukrainian counteroffensive, stating that “in the South-Donetsk direction, the Ukrainian armed forces […] lost 28 tanks, including eight Leopards, three AMX-10s and 109 armored vehicles.”
In the latest development, the MoD said that the Russian army had destroyed three Leopard tanks
and two AMX-10s in the South Donetsk area.
How Many Ukrainian Tanks Are Left?
While neither the Russian MoD nor the Ukrainian military are providing information on the matter, a US news agency reported that the Kiev regime's army currently has about 1,500 tanks, purportedly catching up with Russia’s numbers in this regard.
That said, the news outlet stressed that “there are huge uncertainties around such figures, […] especially when it comes to Ukrainian losses, which are less well recorded.”