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Kremlin halts recycling and uses retired military equipment

Russia has paused a weapons recycling scheme for over a year due to a shortage of new armaments and has not disposed of old ones, according to the Moscow Times.

The publication analysed contracts for the disposal of weapons posted on a public procurement website since 2014. A total of 7.7 billion roubles (EUR 88.2 million) has been spent on scrapping decommissioned assets since then, although the activity had stopped by January 2022.

‘Now we see not just the removal of equipment from storage but also the restoration and repair of equipment already decommissioned from service,’ military expert David Genderland tells the Moscow Times. ‘They did not count on such a protracted war, where all this may still be needed. Therefore, there is not enough equipment, ammunition, personnel and everything else.’

Sources state that ‘mothballed’ equipment was stored incorrectly and was likely to have been sent to the front in poor condition. Troops in Ukraine have reported that outdated shells have failed to explode.

The Kremlin is estimated to have lost 8590 armoured vehicles last year. This outcome would have been different, experts say, if the government hadn’t significantly backtracked on its scrapping efforts in 2017. Only some 4000 of the 10 000+ tanks eligible for scrapping were dismantled that year.

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