Ground Report | New Delhi: Ukraine captures tanks; Ukraine has lost at least 74 tanks, destroyed or captured, since Russia widened its war against the country starting on the night of February 23. But Ukraine has captured at least 117 Russian tanks, according to open source intelligence analysts who analyze photos and videos on social media.
In other words, the Ukrainian military could have more tanks now than it did a month ago, all without building a single new tank or pulling any old vehicles out of storage.
The General Staff of the Ukrainian Armed Forces put Russian tank losses at 561 in a Facebook post on Friday. He also said that 115 of Russia’s warplanes have been destroyed so far in the conflict which has now entered its fifth week.
Russia must project forces into Ukraine tens or hundreds of miles, stretching poorly protected supply lines and risking front-line units running out of ammunition and fuel. Many of those tanks that the Ukrainians have seized were there, out of fuel, their crews had fled.
Meanwhile, the Ukrainian army enjoys the advantage of the “interior lines”. That is, their forces fight near major cities and their bases. The Ukrainians’ supply lines are contained within their own defensive perimeter rather than along unguarded roads.
In an announcement that appeared to indicate more limited targets, the Russian Defense Ministry said the first phase of its operation was almost complete and would now focus on the eastern Donbass region, which has pro-Russian separatist enclaves.
“The combat potential of the Armed Forces of Ukraine has been greatly reduced, which… makes it possible to focus our core efforts on achieving the main goal, the liberation of Donbass,” said Sergei Rudskoi, chief of the Russian General Staff’s Main Operational Directorate.
Recasting Russia’s goals may make it easier for Putin to claim a face-saving victory, military analysts said. (Ukraine captures tanks)