Russian President Vladimir Putin has resorted to retrofitting hundreds of decades-old Soviet tanks to be battle-ready — as the country’s stockpile of modern tanks dwindles.
Andrey Gurulev, a member of the Russian parliament, released a video Saturday showing his recent visit to a repair plant outside the remote city of Chita that has been tasked with modernizing 800 obsolete T-62M tanks, reported the Russian outlet Chita.ru.
The video posted by Gurulev on his Telegram channel shows factory workers fixing up rusted-out battle tanks dating back to the times of Nikita Khrushchev and Leonid Brezhnev.
Guruvel says in the footage that the personnel at the 103rd Armored Tank Repair Plant is working around the clock “to transform tanks that are more than 50 years old into modern normal machines capable of carrying out objectives and meet challenges on the front lines.”
According to the pro-Putin politician, the “ancient” tanks arriving at the facility “looking worse for wear” are being fully overhauled, from their engines to their communication systems and controls.
“Now it’s a totally different tank that can work,” Guruvel boasted.
The elected official added that the revamped tanks are being shipped out to the battlefields in Ukraine.
In a recent intelligence update, the UK Ministry of Defense confirmed that Russia has been using “vintage” tanks in response to “heavy armored vehicle loses.”
“There is a realistic possibility that even units of the 1st Guards Tank Army (1 GTA), supposedly Russia’s premier tank force, will be re-equipped with T-62s to make up for previous losses,” the March 6 bulletin revealed.
According to British analysts, in recent days, Russian BTR-50 armored personnel carriers, which have been in use since 1954, have been spotted in Ukraine for the first time.
The Ministry confirmed that since last summer, some 800 T-62s “have been taken from storage” to be upgraded with sighting systems to make them more effective at night.
But the update noted that the antique tanks are still vulnerable because they lack modern explosive reactive armor.
According to Ukraine’ Ministry of Defense, Kyiv’s forces have destroyed or captured approximately 3,474 Russian tanks since the start of the war last February. The Post could not indecently verify that figure.
The race to get Russia’s tanks into fighting shape comes as Ukraine is preparing to receive hundreds of cutting-edge Leopard 2 main battle tanks from its European allies and Abrams tanks from the US in anticipation of a spring counteroffensive.
The first Leopards began arriving in Ukraine late February around the time of the first anniversary of the invasion, with additional shipments expected in the coming weeks and months.