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Russia Low on Ammo, Lost 50% of Tanks in Ukraine, US Official Says

  • Russia lost some 50% of its tanks in the past year, US Deputy Treasury Secretary Wally Adeyemo said.
  • He argued that US-led sanctions had succeeded in crippling Russia’s economy and thus its war effort.
  • However, data suggests that Russia’s economy in 2022 shrunk less than initially forecasted.

Russia has lost up to half of its tanks in Ukraine since the start of the war and is running low on ammunition, a senior US official said.

Deputy Treasury Secretary Wally Adeyemo made the assessment at an event Tuesday held by the Council of Foreign Relations think tank in Washington, DC.

In a version of his speech posted online by the Treasury, Adeyemo argue that US-led sanctions on Russian had harmed its economy and limited its ability to replace equipment lost in the war.

The sanctions, he said, “degraded Russia’s ability to replace more than 9,000 pieces of military equipment lost since the start of the war, forced production shutdowns at key defense facilities, and caused shortages of essential components for tanks and aircraft production.

“Russia is also running out of munitions and has lost as much as 50% of its tanks,” he continued, and had to “turn to mothballed Soviet-era weapons.”

A Dutch monitoring group, Oryx, which tracks Russian equipment losses came to a similar conclusion.

As Insider’s Sinéad Baker reported in January, Oryx said Russia had lost more than 1,500 tanks, which it said represent more than half its stock.

A Ukrainian tank drives down a street in the heavily damaged town of Siversk which is situated near the front lines with Russia

A Ukrainian tank drives down a street near the front lines in eastern Ukraine in January 2023.

Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Adeyemo’s speech came three days before the anniversary of the war, which began on February 24, 2022, when Russia sent an invasion force into Ukraine.

He noted that Russia’s economy has suffered broadly since the war began, with the nation posting an official budget deficit of $47 billion for 2022. The figure was its second-steepest deficit since the Soviet Union collapsed.

He also pointed out the crash in the Russian ruble when the sanctions first hit — though it has since recovered to almost the same level as before the invasion.

Its economy is on track to losing $190 billion in GDP by 2026, according to an economic analysis by Bloomberg.

Adeyemo argued that after a year of war, “Russia’s economy looks more like Iran and Venezuela’s than a member of the G20,” referring to two other heavily-sanctioned nations.

Russia’s energy revenues were also affected by the sanctions. The country’s oil revenues in January were nearly 60% lower than in March last year, right after the invasion began, the deputy treasury secretary said, citing information from Russia’s Ministry of Finance.

However, the shrinking of Russia’s economy was less than some expected. It contracted by 2.1% in 2022, much less than the 10% drop some forecasters predicted a year ago, per Bloomberg.

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