Russia briefly deployed its super-advanced T-14 tanks to Ukraine, then withdrew them again, state media says

11 months ago 40
  • Russia's top-tier T-14 Armata tanks were used in combat in Ukraine, state media reported.
  • But then they were quickly "withdrawn from the frontline," a military source told state media. 
  • The roll-out of the tanks has been plagued by setbacks in recent months.

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Russia briefly deployed its top-tier T-14 Armata tanks in combat in Ukraine — but then withdrew them again, according to Russian state media.

Armored forces from Russia's southern military district (SMD) "actively used Armata in combat," an unnamed military source told the state-run outlet TASS.

"Several vehicles participated in combat to see how the tank will perform. After that, they were withdrawn from the frontline," the source added.

They did not elaborate on why the cutting-edge tanks were removed from battle. 

The T-14 is an advanced vehicle with a high degree of automation. Russia says it has defense systems that capable of countering the anti-tank rockets that Ukraine has deployed so effectively in battle against older Russian tanks.

Russia does not yet have many T-14s and has appeared reluctant to use them in battle, probably fearing they could be destroyed.

At the beginning of this year, the British Ministry of Defense said that if Russia does deploy the T-14 "it will likely primarily be for propaganda purposes."

"Production is probably only in the low tens, while commanders are unlikely to trust the vehicle in combat," the ministry said in a statement, citing intelligence sources and satellite imagery.  

The tank was first unveiled at Russia's Victory Day Parade on May 9, 2015, but its roll-out has been plagued with delays and technical problems.

The Kremlin initially planned for 2,300 of the tanks to arrive between 2015 and 2020. But in December 2021, the Russian conglomerate Rostec said production of around 40 tanks had only just started, and that they were anticipated for delivery after 2023, according to the Russian news agency Interfax.

"The necessary trials of the T-14 tank still continue," another unnamed military source told TASS.

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