Vladimir Putin has been forced to deploy nearly half of his old mothballed tanks and armored vehicles from a major Siberian open-air depot after suffering huge losses in Ukraine.
Some 1,570 rusting war machines have been moved from their Siberian dump and returned to service for the Russian president’s war against Ukraine, according to reports.
More than 40% of the 3,840 tanks and military vehicles shown in Google Earth satellite images at the Vagzhanovo military equipment depot before the war have now been removed from storage, it is claimed.
The Republic of Buryatia site is the largest in Russia and covers five square miles.
Footage shows reused obsolete tanks from storage sites like Vagzhanovo – of which there are several across Russia – being moved to the war zone by a military train.
Vladimir Putin was forced to deploy almost half of his old mothballed tanks and armored vehicles from a major open-air depot (pictured)
Some 1,570 rusting war machines have been moved from their Siberian dump and returned to service for the Russian president’s war on Ukraine, reports say
Video footage (pictured) showed repurposed T-54 and T-55 tanks being transported across Russia as forces in Moscow searched for reinforcements after suffering massive material losses
The use of Soviet-era machinery is a sign of Putin’s desperation, but also of his miscalculation that his existing resources would meet his wartime needs.
Data on the key military storage base was extracted by the Russian edition of the Moscow Times from blogs by photographers, travelers and media publications.
After eight months of war in November 2022, around 2,600 armored vehicles remained at the base, and by May 2023 that number had dropped to 2,270.
Most equipment was stored off base. Many have missing turrets and would need major repairs to be in working order.
Among the old tanks are T-62, produced until 1975.
Russia is known for refurbishing creaky Soviet-era tanks in large numbers due to Putin’s war losses.
He ordered the construction of two tank repair factories.
A 24-hour factory in Chita, Siberia is working on modernizing obsolete T-62s.
During a visit to the six-time-zone factory east of Moscow, Putin propagandist and war fanatic Lt. Gen. Andrey Gurulev, 55, said: “The tanks, over 50 years old, are being transformed into modern, normal machines capable of performing tasks and meeting today’s frontline challenges.
He boasted: “These T-62 tanks are completely modernized.
Some tanks are even older and some claim museums have been raided.
The outdoor military storage site is seen in this image, along with dozens of Soviet-era tanks
More than 40% of the 3,840 tanks and military vehicles shown in Google Earth satellite images at the Vagzhanovo military equipment depot before the war have now been removed from storage, according to reports.
T-54/T-55 vs T-62: Reports from Russia suggest Vladimir Putin is coming out of retirement and stockpiling Soviet-era tank designs to boost his heavy armor numbers in Ukraine
Former Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin’s T-54s as well as the mainstay of the Cold War, the T-55, were deployed.
The geriatric T-54 was originally produced by Stalin after WWII in 1946, but Putin appears to be sending an updated version from the early 1950s to war – around 70, the same age as the modern-day dictator .
We are far from the hypersonic missiles of which he boasts.
The main tanks used by Russian and Ukrainian units in the current war are those of the T-72 family, which were also engineers in Soviet times.
However, compared to those released from storage, they offer more modern features and have been spotted with various upgrades.
That being said, in recent months Ukraine has taken delivery of state-of-the-art Western main battle tanks, such as the German Leopard 2, the British Challenger 2 and the American-made M1 Abrams – all of which constitute a significant improvement over the T-72.
These represent a significant challenge for old Russian models.
Russia also boasted of more modern battle tanks in the form of the T-80 and T-14 Armata.
While Russian state media claimed the latter had been used during the war in Ukraine, reports suggested they were quickly withdrawn as the deployment of Russia’s flagship tank was plagued with setbacks.
Meanwhile, Russia suffered significant losses in its heavy armor, with the Oryx military blog – which counts battlefield losses based on visual confirmation, thus providing a minimum figure – reporting that Russia lost about 2,200 tanks.
Ukraine’s estimate puts this figure even higher.
Amid Russia’s heavy losses of tanks and other military hardware, multiple reports suggest Putin is pulling old tanks from storage, with a video from March showing factory workers reusing the tanks.
And there is evidence that Russia uses its earliest designs as driverless “kamikaze tanks” capable of operating on an explosive-laden “autopilot” acting as self-propelled bombs.
Pictured: Russian engineers work on T-62 tanks and other hardware as Vladimir Putin works to beef up the military vehicles his forces have in Ukraine
A video showed a Soviet tank apparently revived last month being used in an attempt to inflict carnage on Ukrainian positions.
In this case, it hit a landmine and exploded near Marinka in the Donetsk region before hitting the enemy.
An eyewitness seeing a train in Voronezh carrying the ancient tanks compared them to extinct woolly mammoths.
‘T-55! They’re out of new tanks and sending junk.