Information by a Russian website reveals its enormous losses

Russia's tank losses in Ukraine: some data from 2021 to verify how serious they are

There has been a lot of talk in different media about the great losses of material, and particularly of tanks, that the Russian army is suffering in Ukraine.

Ukraine vs Afghanistan: A comparison of Moscow's losses in both invasions
The antiquated T-62 tanks that the Russian Army is abandoning on the Kherson front

However, there are people who claim that Russia's tank losses in this invasion are not so serious, since the Russian army has a large number of such vehicles. Certainly, Russia has thousands of tanks, but its army is not as large as some imagine. To verify this, it is not necessary to go to foreign sources, which some might qualify as interested: let's see what they say Russian sources themselves.

The figures of tanks of the Russian standing army in September 2021

On September 12, 2021, the Russian website Altyn73, specialized in military issues, published an article titled "Review of the state of the tank troops of the Russian Armed Forces. 2021". The article, using data published by Russian public sources, made a complete review of the tanks of the different army corps of the Russian army and their subordinate units, indicating the figures of each tank model that all of them have. units, reaching the level of battalions and companies. This is a very detailed article and has been cited by other Russian websites to boast of the considerable size of their army.

That article already revealed some data indicating the age of the Russian armored fleet: "The most numerous is the T-72B tank In 1985-1996 the T-72B tank was produced in three versions ( T-72B, T-72B1 and T-72B of the 1989 model)". Let us remember that the T-72 is a tank that entered service in the Soviet Army in 1973, almost 50 years ago. It has undergone several modernizations since then. Likewise, the article on the Russian website added: "T-90A (2004-2010) and T-90M (produced since 2019) tanks constitute the smallest group in the army".

The Russian website stated at the bottom of the article: "The total authorized strength of all combat units listed above is 2,609 tanks. Twelve more battalions are in formation. The total number of new and modernized tanks (launched in 2000 and later) in combat units is about 1,340 units, or about 51 percent of the total." I have made a sum of the tanks that this source attributed to each unit of the Russian army: in total there would be 442 T-80s, 187 T-90s and the rest, 1,980, would be T-72s. These are the figures from the Russian standing army. The Russian blog added: "more than 240 modern and improved T-72B3M, T-80BVM and T-90M Proryv tanks will be received by the Russian Army Ground Forces in 2021", citing an information published by the official Russian agency Tass on September 11, 2021. So , and if these deliveries have been made, at most we would be talking about 2,849 tanks, of which 1,580 would be the most modern versions or modernized units.

The losses of Russian tanks in Ukraine in these eight months of invasion

To compare these figures with Russian losses in Ukraine, we take as reference the data from, since this website has been documenting the losses of both sides with visual evidence (photos and videos) since the beginning of the invasion on February 24. To date, that website indicates that Russia has lost 1,420 tanks in Ukraine. The figures are split like this:

  • 42 T-62 of different types.
  • 43 T-64 of different types.
  • 835 T-72 of different types.
  • 312 T-80 of different types.
  • 30 T-90 of different types.
  • 158 unidentified tanks.

The T-80 is the most punished model: Russia has lost 70% of those tanks

We must bear in mind that the figures published by are downwards, since it only includes those vehicles that have been photographed. A Russian source, Conflict Intelligence Team, estimates that that website only covers 70% of the losses. This allows us to conclude that Russia has already lost more than half of the tanks of its active army in Ukraine. The losses are being especially hard for the T-80, which is the most punished variant in relation to its number: Russia has already lost 70% of its T-80. Likewise, the losses affect 42% of the Russian T-72 and 16% of its T-90 (a figure that is due to the fact that this model has not been been widely used in this invasion, perhaps because Russia has not wanted to risk its most modern tanks).

What about the tank reserves of the Russian army?

The huge casualties suffered by Russia explain why it needed turning to more obsolete T-62s, and debunks the optimism of those who consider that the heavy losses of Russian tanks are not worrying because the country would have many more tanks. There has also been talk of the estimate of the International Institute for Strategic Studies in its Military Balance 2021, which states that Russia would have some 10,200 tanks in storage, including 3,000 T-80s and 200 T-90s, but one wonders if that estimate is based real and what will be the operational status of those tanks. If Russia had such huge reserves of modern tanks ready for use, what need would it have to make a fool of itself by sending old T-62s to the front lines?


Photo: Maximilian Clarke. A Russian T-72B3 tank destroyed Mariupol on March 23, 2022.

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