Russia’s military has started using a fearsome new battle tank in a bid to crack down on stubborn Ukrainian defences according to the Russian RIA state news agency.
The T-14 Armata have yet to participate in any direct assault operations but have been refitted with additional side armour on their sides, and their crews have undergone “combat coordination” training in Ukraine.
The vehicle’s arsenal of weapons is remotely controlled by the crew from an isolated armoured capsule located in the front of the hull.
The tank was claimed by its designers to be the world’s first invisible tank in 2015.
The T-14 can achieve a maximum speed of 80 kilometres (50 miles) per hour on a clear stretch of road, as reported by RIA.
Additionally, the T-14 is larger and heavier than other Russian tanks, which would create logistical challenges for its deployment.
According to the British military, using the T-14 tank would be a risky decision for Russia, and it would only be done for propaganda purposes because there are doubts about its reliability in combat.
The British military said: “Production is probably only in the low tens, while commanders are unlikely to trust the vehicle in combat.
“Eleven years in development, the programme has been dogged with delays, reduction in planned fleet size, and reports of manufacturing problems.”
It comes as Ukrainian military intelligence has reported Russian troops taking up defensive positions in most areas of the frontline as the Kremlin braces for Kyiv’s anticipated Spring offensive.
Ukrainian head of intelligence Kyrylo Budanov noted in a media interview that Russia appears to be commanding troops to dig in along large sections of the front apart from in the city of Bakhmut where Russian attacks continue.
Budanov told RBC Ukraine: “They have completely switched to positional defence everywhere.
“The only places on the frontline where they are making attempts are in the city of Bakhmut, an attempt to cover the city of Avdiivka from the north, and localized fighting in the city of Marinka.
“Both in Avdiivka and Marinka the tactics are identical to those in Bakhmut – just an attempt to wipe the settlement off the face of the earth.
“And against the backdrop of the lack of success elsewhere, they face the problem that even their ‘deceived’ society needs to see something, some kind of victory.
“This is the only place where they succeed at least.”