Russia has likely lost half its main battle tanks in Ukraine, a senior US defense official said.
Putin has also lost tens of thousands of troops, the Pentagon's Colin Kahl told reporters this week.
Because of this, "Russia will emerge from this war weaker than it went in," he said.
Russia has likely lost half of its main battle tanks fighting in Ukraine, a senior US defense official said Tuesday, adding that the Russian military will end up being weaker than it was before the war began.
Colin Kahl, the undersecretary of defense for policy, told reporters this week that Russian President Vladimir Putin has "suffered a massive strategic failure" during his ongoing and unprovoked war in Ukraine.
Highlighting Putin's military setbacks, Kahl said that Russian forces have "probably lost half of their main battle tanks" and tens of thousands of troops in Ukraine, according to a Department of Defense report published Wednesday.
Kahl did not specify exactly how many tanks the Pentagon estimates Russia has lost, but according to open-source intelligence analysis by Oryx, at least 1,450 Russian tanks have been destroyed, captured, abandoned, or damaged over the course of the war, which would be roughly half the pre-invasion tank force. Notably, Russian troops fleeing Ukrainian battlefield advances have left behind modern T-90 tanks that Moscow considers to be among the most advanced in its arsenal.
Russia has, in turn, been forced to pull old and obsolete tanks from storage — like the Soviet-era T-62 main battle tank. This type of tank is decades old, can even be seen in some museums, and has long since been replaced by newer, more capable systems.
In addition to armor losses, Russian forces have also lost mountains of other high-value and heavy weaponry, much of which. like Russian tanks, has been repurposed by Ukraine even as it continues to enjoy considerable security assistance and military aid from Western countries.
It's also unclear exactly how many casualties Russia has sustained in Ukraine, but losses are believed to be substantial.
No updated casualty figures have been provided since the Pentagon reported in August that as many as 80,000 Russian troops had been killed or wounded in Ukraine. That figure was presented before Ukrainian forces launched two counteroffensives along the war's northeastern and southern fronts, moves which have seen Russian lines shatter and Kyiv liberate thousands of square miles of territory over the last two months.
"Russia will emerge from this war weaker than it went in," Kahl said in reflection on Putin's overall war efforts in Ukraine.
In the latest battlefield humiliation, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu on Wednesday ordered his forces to retreat in the southern city of Kherson, the first major city and only regional capital that Moscow managed to capture after it invaded in late February. As Ukrainian forces continued to advance toward the city, a full Russian withdrawal would mark a significant victory for Kyiv.
"I don't know what winning looks like," Kahl said during his remarks this week. "But I do know that Russia will not have achieved the objectives that Vladimir Putin set out. And that's pretty much a guarantee."
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