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  • Over half of Ukraine’s deployed tank force may be armor captured from fleeing Russian forces.
  • UK intelligence said Ukraine is believed to have captured over 1,000 tanks and armored vehicles.
  • These hauls have come as Russian forces rapidly retreat from their positions in various regions. 

As their war in Ukraine goes from bad to worse, Russian troops retreating from their positions — first around Kyiv and now along the eastern and southern fronts — have left behind vast amounts of weaponry, ammunition, and other equipment. 

Throughout the war, advancing Ukrainian troops have likely captured at least 440 Russian tanks and 650 armored vehicles, Britain’s defense ministry shared in a Friday intelligence update. It added that captured vehicles may account for over half of Ukraine’s deployed tank force.

“Re-purposed captured Russian equipment now makes up a large proportion of Ukraine’s military hardware,” Britain’s defense ministry said. “The failure of Russian crews to destroy intact equipment before withdrawing or surrendering highlights their poor state of training and low levels of battle discipline.”

In Ukraine’s northeastern Kharkiv region, where Kyiv’s troops continue a weeks-long counteroffensive that has seen it liberate thousands of square miles of territory previously under Russian occupation, Russian President Vladimir Putin’s forces fleeing the advancing Ukrainian forces have left behind rifles, tanks, and other weaponry

These recent captures, combined with what Russian troops left behind when they retreated from Kyiv during the spring, has even made Russia Ukraine’s top heavy weapons provider by sheer volume. 

Ukrainian troops ride upon a repaired Russian tank in a wooded area outside the city on September 26 2022 in Kharkiv, Ukraine.

Ukrainian troops ride upon a repaired Russian tank in a wooded area outside the city on September 26 2022 in Kharkiv, Ukraine.

Photo by Paula Bronstein /Getty Images

“With Russian formations under severe strain in several sectors and increasingly demoralized troops, Russia will likely continue to lose heavy weaponry,” Britain’s defense ministry said Friday. 

In addition to what Ukraine has obtained from Russia, it continues to enjoy military aid and other weapons packages from Western countries, including the US, which announced a $625 million security assistance package as recently as this week.

Such support has consistently drawn the ire of Putin, senior Kremlin officials, and Russian diplomats, who regularly complain about the West continuing to arm Ukraine. Russian leadership has threatened that the conflict could expand and escalate if the trend continued, but these complaints and threats have failed to dissuade Western countries.

“The United States will continue to consult closely with Ukraine to meet its evolving battlefield requirements in coordination with our allies and partners to provide Ukraine with the capabilities it needs,” Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Russia, Ukraine and Eurasia Laura Cooper told reporters at a briefing earlier this week.

“As President Biden has said, the United States will continue to stand with the Ukrainian people and provide them with the security assistance they need to defend themselves for as long as it takes.” 

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