Russia does not compensate its losses; Ukraine covers them with captured tanks

The Russian and Ukrainian tank losses compared to their pre-invasion forces

One year after the Russian invasion of the Ukraine, it is worth asking which of the two sides has suffered the greatest losses in terms of armored material.

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I'm going to try to answer that question using tanks as an indicator. It is not possible to obtain exact data on the losses at this time, but I will use as a reference those published by on both sides, since these are losses documented with graphic evidence. Regarding the source to know what the Russian and Ukrainian forces were before the invasion, the most complete and rigorous source is "The Military Balance 2021", published by the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS).

A destroyed Russian tank on April 20, 2022 near kyiv. The Ukrainians have painted "Wolverines" on its barrel, an allusion to the American film "Red Dawn" from 1984 (Photo: Reuters/Jorge Silva).

Russian tanks before the invasion and their losses

In 2021, before the invasion, according to the IISS report the Russian Army had 2,840 active tanks:

  • 650 T-72B/BA.
  • 850 T-72B3.
  • 530 T-72B3M.
  • 310 T-80BV/U.
  • 140 T-80BVM.
  • 350 T-90/T-90A.
  • 10 T-90M.

To these tanks must be added 10,200 stored tanks: 7,000 T-72/T-72A/B, 3,000 T-80B/BV/U and 200 T-90. One wonders if these figures for stored tanks were up to date and what would be the state of those tanks, taking into account that Russia has been forced to resort to old stored T-62s.

Regarding losses, as of today notes that Russia has lost 1,769 tanks in this invasion. They come in many variants, so I will limit myself to quoting the basic models:

  • 65 T-62.
  • 50 T-64.
  • 994 T-72.
  • 408 T-80.
  • 54 T-90.
  • 197 unidentified tanks.

Russian losses represent 62.28% of the tanks of its active army prior to the invasion. Regarding the different models, these are the percentages of tanks lost in relation to the active army:

  • 48.96 of the T-72.
  • 90.66% of the T-80.
  • 15% of the T-90.

Likewise, notes that Russian and pro-Russian forces have captured 143 Ukrainian tanks. These captures only cover 8.08% of the tank losses suffered by Russia.

An abandoned Ukrainian T-64BV on June 15, 2022. It has the letters "Z" painted on it, probably written by the Russians (Photo:

Ukrainian tanks before the invasion and their losses

According to the IISS report, in 2021 the Ukrainian Army had 858 active tanks:

  • 410 T-64BV.
  • 210 T-64BV mod 2017.
  • 100 T-64BM Bulat.
  • 100 T-72AV/B1.
  • 33 T-72AMT.
  • 5 T-84 Oplot.

In addition, Ukraine had 1,132 tanks in storage: 34 T-80, 500 T-72, 578 T-64 and 20 T-55.

As for losses, as of today points out that Ukraine has lost 468 tanks in its defense against the Russian invasion. These are the basic models:

  • 296 T-64.
  • 104 T-72.
  • 39 T-80.
  • 33 unidentified tanks.

Ukrainian losses represent 54.54% of the tanks of its active army prior to the invasion. Regarding the different models, these are the percentages of tanks lost in relation to the active army:

  • El 41,11% de los T-64.
  • El 78,19% de los T-72.

Likewise, Ukraine would have lost an amount equivalent to 100% of the T-80 it had stored. Likewise, notes that Ukrainian forces have captured 549 Russian tanks. These captures cover 100% of the tank losses suffered by Ukraine and add 81 more tanks. To this we must add that Ukraine has received or is about to receive more than 700 tanks from other countries.

A destroyed Russian T-80BVM near Kupiansk in the Kharkov region (Photo: Ukraine Weapons Tracker).

Russia has more losses than Ukraine and does not replace them

In conclusion, and in view of the figures we have just seen, Russia is suffering more losses than Ukraine, in absolute numbers and in proportion to its forces, and furthermore it is not capable of replacing the tanks it is losing (which is why he has had to take old T-62s out of warehouses and send them to the battlefield). In turn, Ukraine more than makes up for its losses with captured Russian tanks and with deliveries from other countries.

Obviously, the situation is still not easy for Ukraine, but if we take into account that Russia was the one that carried out this invasion, the result is being disastrous for the aggressors. In view of the figures, it is clear that Vladimir Putin underestimated the resilience that Ukraine could offer and did not count on the international help that it could receive. Because of this, the Russian forces have been stagnant for months on all fronts and even retreating before the Ukrainian counteroffensives.

By starting this war, Russia not only committed a violation of International Law, but is also consuming its forces in it at a rate unprecedented since World War II, but with a difference: then the USSR received substantial British and American aid which was decisive for the German defeat, as recognized by several Soviet leaders. Now it is Ukraine that is receiving that aid.


Main photo: Anatolii Stepanov / AFP. A destroyed Russian tank on February 22, 2023 in the Kharkov region.

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