An image of a destroyed BTR-50 armored personnel carrier, allegedly used in Russia’s ongoing attempt to capture the town of Avdiivka in the Donetsk region, was shared over the weekend by the Ukraine Weapons Tracker account on X, formerly Twitter. The BTR-50 began production in the Soviet Union in 1954 and ceased production in 1970.
The photo also shows what appear to be blurry bodies, presumably of deceased Russian soldiers, strewn next to the vehicle. Another damaged Soviet-era military vehicle, a T-64BV tank, appears next to the BTR-50.
According to the Kyiv Post, the BTR-50 appears to be overturned and has a large hole in the bottom, indicating that it may have hit a land mine. This vehicle model is especially vulnerable to damage caused by mines and anti-tank weapons due to the absence of safety devices in more modern versions.
The use of equipment manufactured in the 1950s may be a sign of desperation for the Russian military, which reportedly continues to suffer heavy equipment losses as the war continues in Ukraine, and shortages of vital components such as ball bearings in the country is making the production of modern replacements increasingly difficult.
On Sunday, the Ukrainian Armed Forces General Staff stated that Russia had lost 239 armored personnel carriers and 127 tanks over the previous week. Ukraine claims that Moscow has lost at least 4,948 tanks, 9,362 armored personnel carriers and a minimum of 287,700 soldiers since the war began on February 24, 2022.
The Russian attempt to take control of Avdiivka appears to be losing steam after just a week, according to a recent assessment by the Institute for the Study of War, a US-based think tank.
During the first 48 hours of the offensive, which began on October 10, Russia had already lost a “battalion” of military vehicles.
The ongoing assault is “probably the most significant offensive operation carried out by Russia since at least January 2023,” according to an intelligence assessment by the British Ministry of Defense (MoD) on Tuesday.
“The city is a considerable obstacle to preventing Russian forces from achieving their broader goal of taking control of Donetsk Oblast,” the ministry said.
The MoD added, however, that Moscow taking control of the city appears “increasingly unlikely in the short term” because it is “strongly defended” by Ukrainian forces and Russia “suffers heavy losses of equipment and personnel.” ”
In March, the British Ministry of Defense reported that Russia had deployed the BTR-50s to Ukraine and other Soviet-era equipment due to “heavy losses suffered by the armored vehicles.”