Faced with serious arms shortages, Russian armed forces are resorting to welding together old armored vehicles and naval turrets to make makeshift tanks, new video footage shows.
A clip shared on social media showed a series of raw machines waiting to be loaded for transport at an undisclosed location, but based on the narrator’s words, it is believed to be somewhere near the Ukrainian border.
‘This is the first time I’ve seen anything like this. Even in the army, I’ve never encountered anti-aircraft guns like this,” says the narrator in disbelief.
“You can see them being prepared, being sent somewhere.”
Another image shared on social media clearly shows the horror: a Soviet-era MT-LB armored personnel carrier with a pair of 25mm 2M-3 anti-aircraft guns, taken from a battleship.
It comes as Ukraine’s armed forces claimed to have killed more than 1,000 Russian troops in the past 24 hours as both sides suffer heavy casualties amid bitter fighting along the frontline, particularly in Donetsk.
A Soviet-era MT-LB armored personnel carrier is seen with a pair of 25mm 2M-3 anti-aircraft guns recovered from a battleship
A clip shared on social media showed a series of the raw machines waiting to be loaded for transport to an undisclosed location
Ukrainian soldiers fire a 2S5 Giatsint-S self-propelled howitzer at Russian troops outside the frontline city of Bakhmut, amid the Russian assault on Ukraine, in Donetsk region, Ukraine, March 5, 2023
A Ukrainian soldier extinguishes a fire on a burning tank in Chasiv Yar, Donetsk region, Ukraine, Monday, March 6, 2023
The Army of Ukraine claims that more than 3,400 Russian tanks have been knocked out or destroyed since Russian forces launched their invasion on February 24 last year.
According to military databases, Russia’s pre-war tank reserves numbered about 10,000, but many of them were obsolete and out of service due to lack of maintenance and corruption.
Much of Moscow’s operational tank fleet has been decommissioned and the armed forces have been forced to dust off Soviet-era vehicles or create such makeshift hybrid ‘tanks’ in a desperate attempt to make up for losses.
An intelligence update from the British Ministry of Defense last week claimed that Russia is now deploying 60-year-old armored vehicles to the front lines.
“The Russian military has continued to respond to heavy armored vehicle losses by deploying 60-year-old T-62 main battle tanks (MBT)… In recent days, Russian BTR-50 armored cars, first deployed in 1954, have also first deployed in Ukraine,” the update read.
It added that despite the upgrades, the vehicles will be heavily outmatched and outsmarted.
“As of summer 2022, about 800 T-62s have been taken out of storage and some have received upgraded sighting systems that will most likely improve their effectiveness at night.
“However, both vintage vehicle types will have many vulnerabilities on the modern battlefield, including the absence of modern explosive reactive armor.”
The armored hybrids were loaded for transport, presumably to the front line
A destroyed tank in the village of Tsupivka, Kharkiv region, amid the Russian invasion of Ukraine
A resident walks past a damaged church and a wrecked Russian tank in the town of Svyatohirsk, Donetsk region, last week
Image shows destroyed Russian tank in Maryinka, Donetsk region, Ukraine in undated images
Although the frontline of the conflict stretches for many hundreds of kilometers, the most bitter fighting continues to rage in the Donetsk region, particularly in the city of Bakhmut and nearby towns.
Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said Tuesday that the capture of Bakhmut was key to launching a new offensive in the wider region, despite many analysts questioning its wider strategic importance.
“This city is an important defensive hub for Ukrainian forces in Donbas,” Shoigu said of the country’s industrial east.
“By capturing it, further offensive operations can be carried out deep into the defensive lines of the Ukrainian armed forces,” he said at a televised meeting of military officials.
The battle for Bakhmut is now the longest-running and bloodiest of Russia’s years of military intervention in Ukraine, with both sides dividing the battle for control.
A Ukrainian soldier sits in a trench near Russian positions near Bakhmut, March 5, 2023
A World War I style trench warfare unfolded during the fighting around Bakhmut, with both sides firing artillery at each other while sheltering in trenches
Ukrainian soldiers fire a self-propelled howitzer at Russian positions near Bakhmut, Donetsk region, Ukraine, March 5, 2023
Bakhmut, an industrial city once known for its sparkling wine production and salt mines, had an estimated pre-war population of some 80,000 people.
But Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk told regional media on Tuesday that fewer than 4,000 citizens are now left.
“About 38 children, as far as we know, remain in Bakhmut today,” Vereshchuk said.
Both Moscow and Kiev said on Tuesday that the battle was costing military personnel on the other side a huge cost.
The Ukrainian army said Moscow forces launched attacks on Bakhmut and its suburbs “despite significant casualties”.
Shoigu, meanwhile, said there had been a “significant increase in casualties” among Ukrainian forces in the recent fighting for Bakhmut.
Neither side has published official tolls for fighting in the Donetsk region, which Moscow claimed to have annexed to Russia last year.