Russian Defense Minister Orders Tank Production to Be Increased, Their Armor Thickened for Sending to the Ukrainian Battlefield

JAKARTA - Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu is inspecting the production of tanks and heavy flamethrower systems at a company in the Omsk Region, West Siberia, as he wants production to be increased and armor protection added before they are deployed to the Ukrainian battlefield.

"Russian Minister of Defense General of the Army Sergey Shoigu checked the fulfillment of the defense procurement plan at a military company in the Omsk Region which is engaged in the production of tanks and heavy flamethrower systems," said the Ministry of Defense in a statement Friday, reported by TASS, April 20.

Defense Minister Shoigu gave instructions to defense companies to increase production of T-80BVM tanks, the ministry said.

The company is preparing a number of new tanks for delivery to special military operations areas in Ukraine, the ministry said.

"When we started a large-scale program to create additional protection for tanks, we looked for alloys and technical solutions. We have done all this. Now we need to increase the production rate," the ministry said, citing Defense Minister Shoigu.

The ministry further said that the company had also thickened the armor protection before the vehicles were sent to the special operations area.

"Based on his (Defense Minister Shoigu's) instructions, the armor protection was upgraded before being sent to the special operations area," the ministry said.

Meanwhile, building new tanks was a necessity for Russia due to the loss of heavy equipment in the first two years of the war in Ukraine. The International Institute for Strategic Studies said in February that Russia had lost more than 3,000 tanks there, equivalent to its entire active pre-war stockpile, and had to remove old tanks from warehouses to replace them, quoted by Reuters.

In addition to tanks, the defense company increased production of TOS-1A Solntsepyok heavy flamethrower systems by 150 percent last year, according to a ministry report.

"The Omsk factory fulfills the program, I can say that the factory even exceeds the program," said Defense Minister Shoigu.

"The problems and tasks that we decided on during our last visit have almost all been resolved," he stressed.