Ukraine has destroyed a further seven Russian tanks in the last 24 hours, according to the military’s latest update. This means that 1,936 enemy tanks have now been eliminated by Ukraine since Russia invaded its neighbour six months ago. As the Russian losses of both men and equipment rise, there is mounting evidence that Putin is now relying on older weapons and equipment that have been in storage for decades.
This has included 60-year-old T-62 tanks, which are based on the even older T-55 model from after World War 2.
A military expert who has been studying the war in Ukraine says these old tanks are being “eaten” by Ukraine “like a hot knife through butter”.
Speaking to Express.co.uk, Dr John Callahan said: “I did some research on this and it is really hard to tell how many tanks the Russians have, for example.
“At the end of the Cold War, they may have had 30,000 but what does that include? Does that include World War 2 tanks?
“We do not even know what that number really meant. There are people doing amateur satellite sweeps and going to all the places where they know there is a Russian base and counting the tanks.
“It could be that they have as few as a couple of thousand left, maybe 5,000 or 6,000.
“That is all ancient stuff that the Ukrainians will eat through, like a hot knife through butter.”
Dr Callahan of New England College in the US is a former diplomat and US State Department official.
Now working as a military adviser, he has analysed the war for Express.co.uk and how the Russian losses have affected its manoeuvres on the battlefield.
Speaking about Russia’s tanks, he said: “It could be that they still have 15,000. It is just really difficult to know.
In May the UK’s Ministry of Defence revealed in an update how Putin had pulled old equipment from “deep storage”.
The update said: “Russia’s Southern Grouping of Forces (SGF) likely remains tasked with occupying southern Ukrainian territory.
“In recent days, Russia has likely moved 50-year-old T-62 tanks from deep storage into the SGF’s area of responsibility.
“The T-62s will almost certainly be particularly vulnerable to anti-tank weapons and their presence on the battlefield highlights Russia’s shortage of modern, combat-ready equipment.”
Around the same time, Ukraine also confirmed that the old T-62 tanks had been used in the war.
Its military claimed that Russia was “forced to withdraw from storage T-62 tanks to recruit reserve battalion tactical groups that are being formed to be sent to Ukraine”.
The T-62 model, which is especially vulnerable to missile and drone attacks, has even been modified by Russian soldiers in some cases, with cages welded onto the vehicle’s exterior in a bid to minimise the damage from attacks.