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Putin in Panic? Satellite Data Shows Russia May Be Suffering Catastrophic Loss of Tanks

Satellite Data Suggests Russian Forces Are Running Out of Tanks
Source: MEGA

Analysis of satellite data shows that the number of tanks on the Russian side has been rapidly dwindling since the beginning of the Ukraine war.

Jul. 1 2024, Published 11:02 a.m. ET

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Artificial intelligence analysis of satellite data has revealed a significant decline in the number of Russian tanks since the onset of the Ukraine war.

According to a recent estimate by the Ukrainian Defense Ministry, Russia has lost over 8,000 tanks to date, as reported by

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Vladimir Putin's "Special Operation" has resulted in substantial losses for Russia, including a significant number of tanks destroyed by Ukrainian kamikaze drones.

The most recent estimate from the Ukrainian Defense Ministry, posted on X, indicates that Russia has lost 8,066 tanks in the conflict.

The German news outlet Süddeutsche Zeitung employed an artificial intelligence model to analyze satellite images of 87 Russian military sites, including 16 bases primarily used for storing tanks, artillery vehicles and armored personnel carriers. The AI model compared the number of tanks at these sites before the war with current numbers.

For instance, at the 111th Central Armored Reserve base in southeastern Russia, one of the largest Russian tank reserve warehouses, hundreds of armored vehicles have disappeared since the war began.

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In April 2021, the 60-hectare base housed 857 tanks. However, by October 2022, eight months into the war, satellite images showed only 431 tanks. As of 2024, the base is nearly empty.

Similar findings were observed at the 1295th Central military base in Arsenyev, which is primarily used for tank repairs and vehicle storage.

The rapid depletion of tanks has forced Russia to deploy refurbished heavy war machinery, such as "Franken Tanks" or "Turtle Tanks," which first appeared in the conflict in 2023.

Breaking News reported that the use of these vehicles highlighted the severe resource depletion faced by the invading forces. These "Frankenstein tanks" are composed of 25mm 2M-3 twin-barrelled naval anti-aircraft turrets mounted on Soviet-era amphibious fighting vehicles.

In February 2024, the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI) noted that approximately 80% of the tanks and other armored fighting vehicles are not new but refurbished and modernized from existing Russian war stocks.

RUSI's analysis suggested that while Russia could maintain a consistent output of refurbished vehicles through 2024, deeper refurbishment would be necessary by 2025, and by 2026, most available stocks would be exhausted. This would lead to a significant decrease in the number of vehicles delivered to the military as production shifted to new platforms.

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Süddeutsche Zeitung reported that satellite image evaluations indicate this method of upgrading through tank recycling will become unfeasible in the near future.

Gustav Gressel, a Russia and military expert at the European Council on Foreign Relations, expressed that the rapid depletion of tank reserves would become a significant issue for Russia within about two years.

Michael Gjerstad from the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) in London estimated that Russia still has around 3,200 tanks in stock, though most are in poor condition and require extensive repairs.

Newsweek, citing data from the Dutch open-source intelligence defense analysis website Oryx, reported that since the beginning of the invasion, 2,144 Russian tanks have been destroyed, 159 damaged, 352 abandoned and 518 captured.


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