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Live updates: Russia’s war in Ukraine

An abandoned Russian tank is seen in a village on the outskirts of Izyum in the Kharkiv region of Ukraine on September 11. (Juan Barreto/AFP via Getty Images)

Scores of images and videos have emerged in recent days of tanks, armored vehicles and other military equipment abandoned by Russian forces in their hasty retreat from the Kharkiv region.

While those losses are hard to quantify, it’s clear that the Russians lost or abandoned hundreds of pieces of equipment, including more modern hardware. Analysts believe that, for example, one Russian tank division may have lost half its combat power.  

According to the Ukrainian military’s General Staff, during the week beginning Sept. 6, 590 pieces of Russian equipment were destroyed. 

“Enemy losses were 86 tanks and 158 armored fighting vehicles, 106 artillery systems, 159 vehicles and 46 units of other equipment,” the General Staff claimed.

CNN cannot independently verify the figures cited, but an independent group, Oryx — which has collated Russian losses since the campaign began — said it has verified a surge of losses among Russian units compared to August. Most have been incurred in Kharkiv, though the Russians have also lost equipment in Kherson and Donetsk. 

A wrecked Russian military vehicle is seen in Balakliya, Ukraine, on September 11.
A wrecked Russian military vehicle is seen in Balakliya, Ukraine, on September 11. (Metin Aktas/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

In one day alone, Sept. 11, Oryx estimated that Ukrainian forces destroyed, damaged or captured 102 pieces of Russian equipment, including 23 tanks, 13 armored personnel carriers and 25 infantry fighting vehicles. The following day, the Russians lost a further 99 pieces, according to Oryx data. 

As it only counts observed and verifiable losses in its data, Oryx says the real rate of losses is likely much higher. 

According to rolling averages compiled by Oryx, in the second week of September, Russian forces were losing an average of more than 60 pieces of equipment a day, compared to about 15 a day in the final week of August. That’s the highest sustained rate of loss since several disastrous attempts to cross the Siverskyi Donets river in May.

In the same period, Ukrainian verified losses were running at about 10 pieces of equipment. 

Abandoned munitions in a village on the outskirts of Izyum in the Kharkiv region of Ukraine on September 11.
Abandoned munitions in a village on the outskirts of Izyum in the Kharkiv region of Ukraine on September 11. (Juan Barreto/AFP via Getty Images)

Some of the equipment appears to have belonged to the Luhansk People’s Militia rather than regular Russian forces and is likely to have been older. But substantial amounts of modern hardware were also lost.

Geolocated images show a number of updated T-80 tanks were among those damaged or destroyed, as well as mine-clearing vehicles and armored personnel carriers.

Military analyst Rob Lee of the Department of War Studies at King’s College London tweeted Monday that videos showed T-80s, armored personnel carriers and other vehicles all disabled. Lee later tweeted: “Russia’s 4th Tank Division has two tank regiments … With the most recent losses in Izium, it has lost nearly a full regiment of T-80U variant tanks in Ukraine, or half its total that weren’t in storage.”

Ukraine Weapons Tracker, which also analyzes social media and official images, said that in one single location near Izium, “we counted no less than nine T-80U and T-80BV tanks.”

Some more specialized equipment was also lost, including a Zoopark-1 radar station, which tracks the positions of enemy firepower. Other videos show Ukrainian soldiers showing off captured Russian Tor and Osa short-range surface-to-air missile systems in the Kharkiv region. There are also images of Russian Orlan-10 drones retrieved by Ukrainian forces, apparently undamaged.

Some analysts believe Russian forces left equipment behind because of a lack of fuel. 

According to the Institute for the Study of War: 

“Russian troops likely withdrew from the area in great haste, and social media posts show abandoned tanks and other heavy military equipment near Izium, which indicates that Russian troops failed to organize a coherent retreat.”

The loss of so much armor and other equipment may also complicate the Russians’ task of reconstituting units and forming a new defensive line inside the Luhansk region.

Ukrainian service members prepare to transport a Russian tank captured in the Kharkiv region on September 11.
Ukrainian service members prepare to transport a Russian tank captured in the Kharkiv region on September 11. (Press service of the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine/Reuters)



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