Russia Keeping Top Weapons Out of Ukraine to Avoid Reputation Damage: Reports

Russia is reportedly keeping its top military assets off the battlefield in Ukraine over fear that losing them would damage its reputation.

A recent UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) intelligence report claimed that Moscow has not deployed its new T-14 Armata tanks to spare them from ruining their image as the country’s most advanced main battle tanks.

The invading forces sent their T-90, T-80, and T-72 tanks to the frontline, but all of them suffered heavy losses at the hands of Ukrainian troops.

Russia’s top weapons maker Rostec also said the next-generation T-14 tanks are too expensive to use in Ukraine, with each unit allegedly costing up to $9 million.

First introduced in 2015, the Armata features thick armor, sophisticated sensors, and onboard drones to aid target identification. Its three-man crew can also remotely operate its 125-millimeter cannon from the safety of the inside of the tank.

The tank had been spotted in training exercises in southern Russia shortly after the war began, fueling concerns that it could be deployed to the frontline to challenge Western armored vehicles.

Sidelining the Su-57

This is not the first time Russia has been reported sidelining its most valuable assets in Ukraine over fear of “reputational damage.”

In 2023, reports revealed that there was only very limited evidence that the Su-57 fighter jet was still seeing action in the war-ravaged nation.

According to the UK MoD, this is also highly likely due to Moscow’s efforts to limit the risk of its sensitive technologies falling into the hands of enemies once captured.

Introduced in 2020, the fifth-generation multi-role fighter aircraft was reportedly designed to destroy all types of air, ground, and naval targets.

Russian Air Force Sukhoi Su-57
Russian Air Force Sukhoi Su-57 fifth generation stealth fighter, July 23, 2017. Image: Anna Zvereva/Wikimedia/CC BY-SA 2.0

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