The Russian military has claimed to have destroyed a Ukrainian tank repair shop in Kharkiv with a missile strike carried out by the Russian Air Force on February 12.
“As a result of a high-precision missile strike of the Russian Aerospace Forces in the city of Kharkiv, the armored vehicle assembly workshops of the Armed Forces of Ukraine were hit on the territory of the machine-building plant named after Malyshev,” said Lieutenant General Igor Konashenkov, the official spokesman of the Russian Defense Ministry.
Russian military experts say that strikes on Ukraine’s rear military infrastructure may affect the number of combat-ready equipment it can deploy at the front, thereby reducing the combat capabilities of Ukrainian armed forces.
“Disabling military infrastructure is the number one task. Ukraine cannot produce equipment now, but it is trying to repair and restore it at repair enterprises. The same Malyshev Plant is a huge production. We are trying to find and destroy these objects, so they must drag equipment to the West for repairs,” said Russian military expert Vladislav Shurygin.
The Malyshev Plant and nearby areas in Kharkiv have repeatedly come under Russian attacks since the onset of Moscow’s military campaign in Ukraine in February 2022.
The Russian military carried out the previous attack in December last year. Before that, there was a strike on the plant conducted in March 2022, with videos of the aftermath of the strike doing the rounds on social media.
Ukrainian Repair Facilities Along The Frontline
As EurAsian Times reported recently, Ukrainians are operating repair shops near frontlines where even the Russian tanks captured by Ukrainian forces are being repaired to be redeployed against the Russian troops.
The Ukrainians won these tanks and other armored vehicles as trophies of battlefield successes after pushing out Russian forces from specific regions, including Kharkiv, which was the source of some of the most advanced Russian armored vehicles captured by the Ukrainian troops.
During the surprise northern counteroffensive in the Kharkiv region, Ukraine’s 4th Tank Brigade comprising T-72s and T-64s reportedly destroyed half of the Russian 4th Guards Tank Division (GTD) in an assault outside the city of Izium.
Notably, the 4th GTD is part of the 1st Guard Tank Army (GTA), which happens to be the elite Russian tank unit allocated for the defense of Moscow and intended to lead counterattacks in the case of a war with NATO.
Reports suggest that by the time the 4th GTD withdrew toward the Russian border to cross over into the Belgorod region, it had lost around 90 T-80U tanks, which is half the number of tanks the division would have at full strength.
The Ukrainian forces captured many of the T-80Us intact, which they could have fixed, painted with the Ukrainian army’s cross insignia, and sent them back into battle.
Some of the captured tanks also included Russia’s most advanced T-90M types, at least one of which the Ukrainian forces have fielded against the Russian forces, as reported by EurAsian Times previously.
Its crew abandoned this T-90 after an attack in September. Less than two months later, the Ukrainian army reportedly fielded T-90M against the Russian forces.
Some western media outlets have described Russia as the biggest donor of tanks to Ukraine during this ongoing conflict, much before the US, German and British governments decided to provide Kyiv with the Abrams, Leopard 2, and Challenger 2 tanks.
As per reports, some of the personnel working in these repair shops are volunteer mechanics who used to fix autos, trucks, railroads, and buses before the war but are now dismantling Russian T-72 tanks and even the Western-supplied vehicles like the American-made Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicle.
Apart from that, a special mobile tank repair unit within the Ukrainian army is reportedly traveling along the Donbas frontline, responding to radio calls from battle groups requesting regular maintenance, a quick repair, or breakdown recovery.
“We are like nomads – we move from one place to another,” an armored recovery vehicle driver mechanically associated with this unit described to Reuters.
This mobile unit gets called to deal with various issues, such as fixing a broken caterpillar track on a T-72 tank or a dead battery in an armored personnel carrier (APC). While these issues can be resolved on the spot, the mobile repair unit also tows away certain vehicles that need more serious repairs.