< /p> Russian Armata tank in Red Square, May 6, 2018.
Moscow – Russian troops have started using the latest T-14 Armata tanks in the war against Ukraine, which Russia has so far only performed at arms fairs and May parades on Moscow's Red Square. However, Russian soldiers only use T-14 tanks for shelling Ukrainian positions, not for direct attacks, the state agency RIA Novosti reported today, citing an unnamed source. The number of deployed machines was not specified. The report was then picked up by other Russian media.
“Russian troops have started using the latest Armata tanks to shell Ukrainian positions. They have not yet been deployed in direct attacks,” the source said. He added that the tanks were equipped with additional side protection against anti-tank ammunition for the Ukrainian battlefield and that the crews had been undergoing matching training since the end of last year at training grounds in the occupied east of Ukraine.
The T-14 Armata tank is characterized by an unmanned turret with a 125-millimeter cannon, from which it is possible to launch guided anti-tank missiles with a range of up to eight kilometers. The three-man crew works in an armored “capsule” in the front of the tank, which is also protected by dynamic armor and an active defense system. It is not clear how many of these tanks the Russian army has actually put into service so far. The Uralvagonzavod armaments company was going to deliver two dozen of these machines in 2021, RIA Novosti previously recalled.
Until now, Russia has used T-72, T-80 and T-90 tanks in Ukraine, but recently – probably due to high losses – it also deployed outdated T-62 tanks, and the media reported that from warehouses in the Far East, they are being transported to the West as well even older T-54 and T-55 tanks. On the other hand, modern Western German-made Lepard 2 tanks and the British Challenger 2 entered Ukraine's arsenal. Kyiv has also been promised American Abrams tanks.
The T-14 Armata tanks, according to Moscow, are superior to all Western weapons. Their cannons are controlled from a distance and the crew is extremely well protected. But they have to rely on complex electronic and optical systems. Until recently, however, Russia solved technical backwardness in these sectors by importing. T-14 tanks were demonstrated by the Russian army for the first time at a parade in Moscow in 2015. During the dress rehearsal of the parade, one of the tanks stopped working. An infantry fighting vehicle, a self-propelled gun and an armored personnel carrier are also being developed on the same platform as the Armata.
Ukraine's Unian agency recalled that British military intelligence already announced in January that Russia could move its new T-14 Armata tanks. According to Ukrainian intelligence, the production of these machines has stopped due to sanctions affecting the import of parts. According to Ukrainian expert Oleksandr Kovalenko, the new tank is defective and its development has not yet been completed, so it is only suitable for parades, where it will still embarrass itself from time to time.
The Ukrainian General Staff claims, that Ukrainian soldiers have destroyed or captured 3,688 Russian tanks since the beginning of the war. This claim cannot be independently verified in wartime conditions.