As fully functional Russian tanks and armored vehicles are left abandoned or stuck in the mud, the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine has reported that Uralvagonzavod, Russia’s primary tank manufacturer, has allegedly halted production as it appears that they have run out of parts to make and repair tanks.
According to the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, the tank-making corporation and the Chelyabinsk Tractor Plant have suspended operations due to a lack of foreign-made components.
“According to the available information, due to the lack of receipts of foreign-made components, the work of the enterprises of the Uralzavod (Uralvagonzavod) Corporation and the Chelyabinsk Tractor Plant has been suspended. These companies specialize in the manufacture and repair of tanks and other armored vehicles for the armed forces of the Russian Federation,” the page stated in a post. They also added that the Russians were in dire need of repairing and rebuilding their damaged weapons and military equipment.
Uralvagonzavod is a victim of the West’s economic sanctions, which were imposed precisely to cripple the Russian economy. It seems to have done more than just cripple the economy as the primary Russian tank builder can no longer obtain parts for tank-making and tank maintenance.
Furthermore, it is to be noted that the United Kingdom had sanctioned Uralvagonzavod by freezing its assets last February 24, which was followed by EU sanctions. According to them, they had sanctioned Uralvagonzavod as their T-72B3 tanks had been used during the invasion. The US had earlier sanctioned the company in 2014 during the Russian annexation of Crimea.
This would be a major problem for the Russians as they allegedly have around 13,000 tanks and about 20,000 armored fighting vehicles, all of which would need proper maintenance and repairs. With the Russian ruble so devalued that a single Russian ruble is equivalent to USD 0.01, the company would be paying more for the simplest raw materials and parts from suppliers who may demand payment in Euros or Dollars. Given that current estimates of Russian losses of all types stand on the order of 1,785 destroyed, damaged, abandoned, or captured, replacements will not be forthcoming
Additionally, we also reported a few days ago that a Russian prototype T-80UM2 MBT was seen to be destroyed along with a column of Russian vehicles in Sumy, which would raise the concern regarding why Russia is sending experimental tanks to the frontlines. They are also sending some very unorthodox vehicles to Ukraine, such as their UAZ-452 vans that date back to the 1960s and even ordinary commercial vehicles presumably seized from private businesses in Russia. All of this together points to an acute shortage of vehicles to move Russian troops and supplies for an invasion that lives and dies on the ability to maintain lines of supply.
The joke currently making the rounds is that the most dangerous thing to a Russian tank right now is any road in Ukraine and that is because of the effective use of Javelin and the NLAW anti-tank missiles by Ukrainian forces. The Bayraktar TB2 drones have also been widely effective in taking out Russian armored columns, on the cheap in terms of unit price. It is mystifying that the Russians are unable to control the air space over their units given that they possess a wide range of radars, missiles, anti-aircraft guns, and aircraft that should have made drone operations all but impossible
The Russian forces had been losing so many tanks and armored vehicles to the Ukrainian farmers that it has become a dark joke among those observing the war, saying that Ukrainian farmers are now the “5th largest army in Europe.” If one was into Tractor-Spotting as a hobby, they would see a variety made by Versatile, Bourgault, Kello-Bilt, Schulte, and Massey Ferguson. Most famous is probably the green and yellow livery of the John Deere brand which has a network of dealers in Ukraine. If you want to know where the Ukrainian army will strike next, follow the tractors.
Russians Deserting their Army, Headed to Belarus
In the General Staff’s statement, it was mentioned that they had observed the Russians deserting their positions, stealing civilians’ clothes and changing into them, taking civilians’ cars, and driving away toward the border of Belarus. This was allegedly happening in Gavronshchyna, Makariv District, which the Ukrainians have managed to recapture from the Russians. Reports of desertion and surrendering have been prevalent among the Russian troops in Ukraine, likely because these soldiers were conscripts without any prior combat experience.
It is important to note that this report from the Ukrainians cannot be independently verified and that SOFREP is fully aware of the propaganda from both sides.
However, Western intelligence suggests that the Russians had been surrendering and sabotaging their vehicles as early as the first week of March. Reports say that the Russian soldiers were lied to about their real mission in Ukraine, which led to low morale and motivation to fight.
Furthermore, the low level of morale among these troops has led to the death on the frontlines of 5 generals and around ten high-ranking officials. This number is now higher as recent reports also include several majors and colonels dying after Senior Naval Commander Andrei Paly had been killed in Mariupol. More high-ranking officials killed include Colonel Alexei Sharov, Lieutenant General Andrei Mordvichev, who died near Kherson, and Lieutenant Colonel Dmitry Safronov, who died in Kharkiv, to name a few.
With the $800 million military packages from the US containing more anti-tank munitions for the Ukrainian Armed Forces, it looks like the Russians will be suffering from more tank losses soon. Just recently, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson stated that they would be sending 6,000 new missiles to Ukraine, which may very well include new NLAWs to help the Ukrainians destroy more tanks. Sweden has also pledged additional anti-tank missiles after the 5,000 AT4s it has already delivered.