Some Russian pieces of equipment were ready for immediate use, while others are being repaired to return to the front. Tanks, vehicles and guns too damaged to salvage are being cannibalized for spare parts. Crucially, Russia has also left behind large quantities of Soviet-standard artillery shells that had nearly run out in Ukraine.
This haul is helping power Ukrainian forces as they retake parts of the eastern Donetsk region, including the town of Lyman, and push further east into nearby Luhansk. Kyiv has regained more than 4,000 square miles of land in the east over the past month, in addition to advances in the south.
One Ukrainian battalion, the Carpathian Sich, seized 10 modern T-80 tanks and five 2S5 Giatsint 152 mm self-propelled howitzers after it entered the town of Izyum last month, said its deputy chief of staff, Ruslan Andriyko.
“We’ve got so many trophies that we don’t even know what to do with them,” he said. “We started off as an infantry battalion, and now we are sort of becoming a mechanized battalion.”
The chief of staff of a Ukrainian artillery battalion operating on the Kharkiv front said his unit now operates four recently captured Russian 2S19 Msta 152 mm self-propelled howitzers, alongside American-made guns, and now has abundant Soviet-caliber ammunition.
“The Russians no longer have a firepower advantage. We smashed up all their artillery units before launching the offensive, and then we started to move ahead so fast that they didn’t even have time to fuel up and load their tanks,” said the officer. “They just fled and left everything behind.”