25-30% of Western Equipment in Ukraine Estimated Destroyed: Putin Claims NATO Armour ‘Burns Well’

Russian President Vladimir Putin elaborated on the losses taken by Ukrainian forces after an almost two week long offensive, during a meeting with military correspondents on June 14, while commenting on the recent major losses suffered by Ukraine’s new batches of Western supplied armour. “When we began this conversation, we mentioned that the offensive unfolded in two directions, and several tanks have been destroyed by the aviation. Helicopters are very effective,” he stated, adding when referring to Russia’s primary man portable anti tank missile system the Kornet that “several armoured vehicles and a tank were destroyed by the infantry using anti-tank weapons. Kornets work ideally, but we need more of them, and this will be done.” Putin further commented on the performances of American M2 Bradley infantry fighting vehicles German Leopard tanks, which both took considerable losses in recent failed offensives by Ukrainian forces against Russian positions after seeing their first ever combat deployments in the conflict. “They burn nicely, as we expected, be it Bradleys or Leopards, yes,” the president told corespondents, adding that “ammunition detonates inside, and pieces fly off in different directions.”

Regarding the extent of the losses taken by new batches of armaments provided by NATO to Ukraine, Putin estimated: “I would say that 25-30% of the equipment that had been supplied has already been destroyed.” He further highlighted that Soviet made equipment was also still being widely used by Ukrainian forces. Ukraine fielded by far the largest tank force in Europe before the outbreak of war in February 2022, with over 850 Soviet built T-64 and T-72 tanks in service, with these having since been bolstered by hundreds of T-72s both from reserves and from Eastern European and Moroccan stocks. The Russian president’s estimates came a day after he referred to Ukrainian offensives as “massive,” and estimated that Ukraine had lost 160 tanks since early June while conceding that Russian forces had lost 54 – adding that some of these would be repairable.

After Western stocks of Soviet compatible equipment were severely depleted by mid-late 2022, Britain became the first to pledge to supply a Western built tank class in December that year offering its Challenger 2 tank. Germany subsequently succumbed to considerable pressure from multiple NATO members to allow its Leopard 1 and Leopard 2 tanks to be set to the war zone. The United States near simultaneously pledged to send its M1 Abrams tanks, although none are expected to reach Ukraine until close to the end of the year. Germany was previously though to be reluctant to send the tanks to Ukraine due to the expected damage which major losses would cause the class’ reputation, after the class had proven far from survivable in previous engagements in the Middle East.