Satellite images show that Russian tanks and armor storage in Siberia have been nearly half-empty since the conflict with Ukraine broke out.
The Moscow Times, citing open sources and analyzing images, said that the Vagzhanovo military equipment warehouse, located on the outskirts of the capital Ulan-Ude of the Russian Republic of Buryatia, showed that in November 2022, this warehouse had about approx. Two thousand six hundred vehicles, down more than 40% from a year earlier.
Vagzhanovo is the largest of 20 Russian combat vehicle storage facilities. Five months before the Russian-Ukrainian war broke out, this warehouse stored about 3,840 tanks and armor from the Soviet era in an open-air yard.
The Vagzhanovo depot also has 10 hangars that can store 400 tanks and armor, but it is unclear whether Russian forces have withdrawn vehicles from these facilities or not. About half of the tanks still in the Vagzhanovo depot do not have turrets, which can be removed to be refurbished with new components and equipment.
Experts and Western observer groups say that Russia is increasingly using old tanks to compensate for losses in the conflict with Ukraine. According to the Netherlands-based OSINT group, Russia lost more than 2,000 tanks out of 3,000 ready to fight before the conflict with Ukraine broke out.
Western media reports that Russia is re-importing tank components, missiles that have been sold to a number of foreign partners, possibly to improve older weapons and military equipment for use on the Ukrainian battlefield.
The re-imported batch of equipment contains thousands of viewfinders and cameras mounted in tanks. Russia can attach these devices to older T-72 tanks that are in storage.
The Russian Defense Ministry has not commented on the information.
During a visit to the tank factory in Omsk province on June 16, Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu asked the facility to expand its production capacity of tanks and heavy thermobaric rockets to meet the needs of Russian soldiers on the front lines.
Western experts say that most of the damage to Russian tanks was recorded in the early stages of the conflict when the convoys were congested and under constant ambushes by Ukraine.
The Royal Research Institute for Defense and Security (RUSI) recently said that the Russian armored forces had learned a lot, adjusted their tactics and applied a series of improvements to adapt to the reality of the battlefield.
Russia has withdrawn many old tank models, such as T-55 and T-62, from storage to deploy for the operation in Ukraine. They did not participate in the spearhead assault but were used as mobile artillery platforms, providing long-range fire support for infantry and participated in lightning raids on weak points of the Ukrainian line.