Russia Has Lost 5,000 Military Vehicles in Ukraine War: Analysis

Photographic evidence collected in Ukraine shows that the Russian military has lost some 5,000 military vehicles since the beginning of the war on February 24.

Oryx, an open-source site tracking military-equipment losses around the world, has reported that Moscow has lost 5,020 military vehicles since the beginning of its invasion. According to the latest figures, 3,202 of those vehicles were destroyed, 103 damaged, 323 abandoned and 1,392 captured by Ukranian troops.

Among the Russian losses listed by Oryx, there are 916 tanks, 556 of which are estimated to have been destroyed.

Russia's army was estimated to have over 12,000 tanks and 20,000 armored fighting vehicles before the war in Ukraine began, far outnumbering Ukraine's estimated force of an estimated total of over 2,500 tanks and over 2,800 armored vehicles.

According to U.S. official estimates, 4,800 Russian armored fighting vehicles were involved in the invasion of Ukraine in February.

Russia Ukraine tanks
Russia has lost an estimated 900 tanks since the beginning of the war in Ukraine on February 24. In this photo, a Ukrainian soldier inspects a destroyed Russian tank near the front line in Kharkiv region on July 23, 2022. ANATOLII STEPANOV/AFP via Getty Images

Since then, it's been estimated that Russia has already lost over a quarter of its available tanks for its campaign in Ukraine, and rumors have spread about Moscow's inability to repair its damaged tanks and its capacity to build new tanks.

According to Ukraine's state media and Ukrainian armed forces, Russia's largest tank manufacturer, Uralvagonzavod, halted production because of supply shortages in March.

According to Oryx, it is likely that the actual number of equipment losses suffered by Russian troops in Ukraine is higher than what has been documented in photos and videos.

Although it cannot be verified, the Ukrainian army's estimates put the number of Russia's equipment losses much higher, claiming that Russian troops have lost 1,768 tanks and 4,011 armored combat vehicles.

Moscow, on the other hand, has never shared reports of its military equipment losses in Ukraine. Newsweek has reached out to the Russian Ministry of Defense for comment.

Regardless of the exact number of tanks and armored vehicles Russia has lost in Ukraine, experts have said the losses represent a significant problem for Moscow.

According to Western military experts, Russian tanks are being destroyed because of a fatal design flaw in the vehicles where troops and ammunition share the same space.

In April, CNN reported that Western militaries had known for years about a design flaw within Russian tanks called the "jack-in-the-box effect," which makes the vehicles highly susceptible to catch fire and explode.

Russian tanks store their ammunition in the turret, where most of the crew—usually two men—stand. If the tank is hit by shelling, the ammunition in the turret is very likely to explode, blasting the turret into the air, killing all inside.

Ukrainian airstrikes targeting Russian tanks have also been extremely successful at destroying the enemy's equipment, according to videos that have been shared on social media.