Russia Failing to Protect Tanks Against U.S. Weapons, Causing Mass Losses

Russia is struggling to protect its tanks from weapons sent to Ukraine from the United States, leading to significant losses amid the Russia-Ukraine war, according to a new report.

Russian troops' failure to strategically deploy their tanks is adding to their mounting losses, according to a new report from The Moscow Times, an English-language Russian online newspaper.

"Tanks are supposed to fight as part of combined formations, but in terms of how they've been tactically used, Russia hasn't done that effectively," Nick Reynolds, a military expert at London's Royal United Services Institute, told the Times.

Putin launched the invasion of Ukraine in February hoping for a quick takeover of Ukraine, but Ukrainian defenders provided a stronger-than-expected response, holding their own against Russian troops. Nearly five months into the conflict, weaknesses in the Kremlin's military are becoming more apparent as it struggles to achieve its objectives, and fighting remains concentrated in the easternmost regions of Ukraine.

Russia not protecting tanks against U.S. weapons
Russia's failure to strategically deploy its best tank, the T-90M, has led to higher losses for its military, according to a new report. Above, T-90M tanks are seen in Moscow's Red Square on May 9. ALEXANDER NEMENOV/AFP via Getty Images

In total, Russia is estimated to have more than 2,800 tanks in military units with another 10,000 in storage, according to an April report from the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

Many of these tanks are considered to be technologically advanced—specifically the T-90M tank, considered to be the strongest in Putin's possession. These tanks include a multi-channel sighting system, a turret with more armor plating and a main gun more powerful than those in many other tanks.

Despite its strength, some of Russia's T-90M tanks have been destroyed amid the conflict with Ukraine. The failure to strategically use the stronger tanks has weakened the military, causing mass losses for its other tanks, according to the Times.

Western leaders including the United States have supported Ukraine, offering military assistance and arms. These weapons have helped contribute to Russia's mounting losses of tanks and other weapons, forcing Russia to deploy older, Soviet-era tanks to Ukraine, the Russian news outlet reported.

Ukraine's Ministry of Defense estimates that Russia has lost 1,687 tanks since the war began in February, among other significant losses to Russian aircraft, artillery systems and other vehicles.

Ukraine Invasion Reveals Weaknesses in Putin's Military

As the Russia-Ukraine war continues, weaknesses in the Russian military are being exposed.

United Kingdom Defense Chief Sir Tony Radakin on Sunday said that low morale among Russian troops has led to military leaders being unable to match enough people to weapons, forcing military recruiters to have to go deeper into rural areas.

"But the overall force is struggling. They're struggling in terms of their numbers, but they're especially struggling in terms of their morale," he said.

Losses among Russian troops have also forced the military to lower its recruiting standards—likely impacting the future effectiveness of the military, according to British intelligence.

"Wagner [a Russian military company] are lowering recruitment standards, hiring convicts and formerly blacklisted individuals. Very limited training is made available to new recruits," the British Ministry of Defence said Monday.