Since the beginning of Russia’s war against Ukraine, Ukraine has reported that more than 1,800 Russian tanks have been destroyed. According to the analysis, this is largely due to the great power of the “Javelin” anti-tank missiles provided by the United States.
Russia possessed a large of number of combat vehicles when it invaded Ukraine in February 2022. Now there are less – perhaps even too few for a new Kremlin offensive. The most widely-used resource for estimating the critical data point of Russian equipment losses in Ukraine since February 24 is a Netherlands-based group called Oryx, which claims that Russia has so far lost 1,876 tanks.
American think tank Rand Corporation, along with the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS), said in a release that Russia had more than 2,700 tanks before the Ukraine war began.
On the other hand, while confirming the heavy attrition of Russian tanks, the British Ministry of Defence pointed out another factor contributing to this result – the shockingly poor performance of Russian tank personnel in performing basic mobile warfare tactics, including their “failure to install and properly use sufficient explosive reactive armor”.
“If used properly, explosive reactive armor can reduce anti tanks missiles effectiveness before an incoming shell hits the tank.” The UK Ministry of Defence said in an intelligence update.
“This shows that the Russian army has not corrected its culture of improper use of explosive reactive armor, which dates back to the First Chechen War in 1994.”
“It is likely that many Russian tank personnel lack training in maintaining explosive reactive armor, resulting in improper installation of (anti)explosive elements, or complete non-use.”
According to the assessment, the lack of training of Russian tank crews may also be the reason for the high number of “turret ejections” of Russian tanks. Turret ejection is a phenomenon in which the top of a tank is blown up because ammunition is stored in the turret rather than in a security compartment.
A major part of the success came due to the weapons provided by the western countries, including the United States. The US supplied Ukraine with 2,000 anti-tank Javelin missiles when the conflict began and later sent 2,000 more. The lightweight but lethal weapon has allowed the soldiers in Ukraine to inflict some serious damage to Russian tanks and artillery.
According to Lockheed Martin, the missile automatically guides itself to the target after launch (“fire and forget” system), allowing the gunner to take cover and avoid counterfire, or load a new missile.
It also has a gentler start, making it difficult for the enemy to see where it was launched from. The Javelins explode at the top of the tank, where the armour is believed to be the weakest.
Apart from the US, the United Kingdom has sent NLAWs and Starstreak missiles, which has also helped the Ukrainians destroy Russian drones.
The British Ministry of Defence concluded: “In this war, Russian commanders have repeatedly failed to enforce low-level combat discipline – such as the use of explosive reactive armor. “The cumulative effect of these defeats could be an important factor in the poor performance of the Russian military.”
Some of those tanks were abandoned because they ran out of fuel. That’s a logistical failure. Some got stuck in the spring-time mud, because the high command invaded at the wrong time of year.”
“Many tanks have been abandoned because of bad driving. Some have been driven off bridges. Others have been driven into ditches so that the tracks have come off. The ability of the troops to use their equipment has been lacking,” said Nick Reynolds, who works at think tank Royal United Services Institute (RUSI).
Moreover, the Ukrainian government itself has been issuing instructions about how to destroy Russian tanks, which is being used by civilians who are taking part in the war.
According to Oryx report, half of the tanks that Russia lost were not destroyed or damaged by the enemy but captured or abandoned.
Zelenskiy talked about the Secretary-General of the United Nations, the President of Turkey, and Russia rejected the proposal for a “demilitarized zone for nuclear power plants.”
U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan both visited Lviv, a western Ukrainian city near the Polish border, for face-to-face talks with Ukrainian President Zelenskiy.
Talks are expected to focus on Ukraine’s grain export deals and the dangerous situation at Ukraine’s Zaporizhia nuclear power plant, Europe’s largest nuclear power plant.
Russian troops occupied the plant for weeks and after the start of Russia’s war against Ukraine. Ukraine slammed Russia for putting the plant in extreme danger and using the nuclear threat to use it as a base for Russian forces to shell Ukraine fiercely.
Farhan Haq, the U.N. deputy spokesman, said Guterres would discuss “his overall effort to fundamentally cool down as much as he can.”
Guterres’s proposal to designate the area around the Zaporozhye nuclear power plant as a “demilitarized zone” has received a positive response from Ukraine, the United States and Western countries. On Aug. 18, however, shortly after Guterres’ visit to Ukraine, a Spokesman for the Russian Foreign Ministry shouted rejection, claiming the plan was “totally unacceptable.”