MILAN — Despite losing on average hundreds of armored vehicles and artillery systems each month, Russia has been able to replenish its inventory by regenerating thousands of stored vehicles in 2023 — an attrition rate experts expect Moscow could handle for several more year.

Last year, Russia reactivated from storage at least 1,180-1,280 main battle tanks and about 2,470 infantry fighting vehicles and armored personnel carriers, according to “The Military Balance 2024″ report unveiled Tuesday by the London-based International Institute for Strategic Studies think tank.

The report estimates that since February 2022, when Russia launched its full-scale invasion of Ukraine, Moscow’s combat vehicle losses have neared 8,800, of which more than 3,000 were tanks.

“To put that into perspective, Russia’s tank battlefield losses are greater than the number it had when it launched its offensive against Ukraine in 2022,” Bastian Giegerich, the director of IISS, said during an online event held Feb. 13.

In an article published by the think tank on Feb. 12, defense research analysts Yohann Michel and Michael Gjerstad found commercially available imagery shows Russia possesses a variety of refurbishment facilities. These include 10 central tank reserve bases, at least 37 mixed equipment and armaments storage bases, and a minimum of 12 artillery storage centers.

“It is our assessment, therefore, that Russia will be able to sustain its assault on Ukraine at current attrition rates for another 2-3 years, and maybe even longer,” they wrote.

However, Giegerich noted the Kremlin’s strategy of relying on refurbished and stored legacy equipment — which is often quite old — comes at a cost.

“The vehicles that emerge from Russian production facilities are in most cases not new. In doing so, the country has to sacrifice quality for quantity,” Giegerich said.

The Russian military has also struggled in recruitment efforts.

“Persistently high casualty rates have kept most units below establishment strength. Shortages of replacement officers and the limited training time allotted to newly mobilised personnel significantly hampered the combat effectiveness of many units,” the new report found. “Bullish statements by government and industry officials about recruitment and equipment production to support forces deployed in Ukraine in 2023 appeared to belie reality.”

“Nonetheless, personnel numbers of existing formations and units were partially replenished, and a number of new wartime regiments were established through limited mobilisation efforts conducted in late 2022, coupled with a variety of ongoing recruitment efforts,” the think tank added.

Indeed, Ukrainian intercepts published last fall by Reuters show Russian conscripts complaining about poor training, heavy losses and mediocre equipment.

Elisabeth Gosselin-Malo is a Europe correspondent for Defense News. She covers a wide range of topics related to military procurement and international security, and specializes in reporting on the aviation sector. She is based in Milan, Italy.

More In Europe