Russian army has lost more than 15,000 pieces of military equipment in Ukraine

Over the two and a bit years of war, Russia has left tens, if not hundreds of billions of dollars worth of equipment on the battlefields in Ukraine – namely, more than 15,000 tanks, airplanes, ships, artillery pieces, missile systems, BMPs and APCs, command and communication points, unmanned aerial vehicles, supply trucks, etc.

According to experts on the Oryx website who record documented losses of the sides, the Russian army had lost 15,063 pieces of equipment by the end of March. Of these, it “gifted” almost a fifth to the enemy: Ukrainian troops captured 2,935 units. Two-thirds (10,615) were destroyed, another 692 were damaged, and 821 were abandoned.

The real scale of losses may be greater, as not all cases are recorded. For example, the Armed Forces of Ukraine estimates that Russia lost 342 airplanes and 325 helicopters. Oryx gives figures about three times less – 107 and 135 respectively.

Although Ukrainian figures may be overstated, Russian air force losses have indeed increased dramatically in recent times. Having lost many planes and helicopters at the beginning of the war, Russia was unable to establish dominance in the skies and began to keep its aircraft away from the front. But in recent months, aircraft have become active in using planning bombs, which can be launched from up to 70 kilometers away, against Ukrainian positions, especially in Avdiivka. Since January, the Russian air force has regularly carried out more than 100 airstrikes a day, and in the four days before the fall of Avdiivka on Feb. 17, it carried out almost 160 airstrikes a day, estimated Konrad Muzyka, director of Poland’s Rochan Consulting.

Casualties have also increased. “Ukraine has become more aggressive, risking the use of Patriot launchers close to the front line to target Russian aircraft”, noted Justin Bronk, a senior fellow at the Royal United Services Institute for Defense Studies (RUSI). As Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said recently, the AFU has managed to shoot down 15 Russian warplanes since the beginning of February, seven of them in the last days of February and early March.

In addition, the AFU shot down two A-50 “flying radars” this year (Oryx confirms this), and another one was seriously damaged in a drone attack on the military airfield in Machulishchi, reported the association of former Belarusian security forces BYPOL, which took responsibility for this action. These are very serious losses: Russia had a total of 10 A-50 daily radar planes, according to the Military Balance database of the International Institute for Strategic Studies. The loss of those used in the war in Ukraine “significantly impaired the situational awareness of combat aircraft crews”, the UK Defense Ministry’s intelligence service wrote. It assessed in early March that Russia had suspended A-50 flights near the front line.

Another area of success for the AFU, which failed to mount a successful counteroffensive on land last year, is the war at sea. With the help of naval drones and missiles, Ukraine, which has no fleet of its own, destroyed about a third of the Black Sea Navy’s ships, effectively rendering it useless in the war. Last weekend alone, four ships – three landing ships and a reconnaissance ship – were damaged.

Last year, the Russian army was mostly on the defensive, although it did conduct two bloody offensives that lasted several months and culminated in the capture of Bakhmut in May 2023 and Avdiivka in February 2024. Therefore, cumulative equipment losses in the second year of the war were halved compared to the first. Russia crossed the 10,000 mark in early April 2023, according to Oryx.

Ukraine lost almost three times as much equipment, according to Oryx’s calculations – 5,454 units. Despite a six-month offensive in which the attacking side usually loses more than the defending side, the AFU has lost 2,290 units over the past year, or more than half as much as the Russian Armed Forces.

The Russian leadership is not concerned about the losses. “After overspending on defense during the Soviet era, Russia has a lot of tanks left”, says RUSI’s Nick Reynolds. In addition, it has increased their production sixfold compared to pre-war times, says Pavel Luzin, an expert on Russian foreign and defense policy, but caveats: most of this is not the production of new equipment, but the modernization of old ones (such as the T-62s that were decommissioned in 2010), “overhauls, adding sights, thermal imagers, computers, on-board systems, etc.”.

Before the war, Russia had about 3,200 tanks in service and about 10,000 in storage, Luzin said. According to Oryx, Russia has lost almost all of its pre-war stockpile, or 2,875 tanks.

So far, Russia has managed to maintain the intensity of combat operations by dismantling some of the tanks that have been hit for spare parts and modernizing those taken from the stockpile. But after a while this will become problematic, Luzin said: “Not everything that is stored can be restored”.

Home / News / In the world / Russian army has lost more than 15,000 pieces of military equipment in Ukraine