Red-faced Putin forced to axe military games as Russia runs low on tanks
Russian President Vladimir Putin has cancelled Russia's annual Tank Biathlon, which has been running each summer since 2013, due to a shortage of tanks, according to sources at the Russian defence ministry.
The high-profile event is part of the Army International Games, but the latest cancellation has been attributed to Mad Vlad's dwindling tank numbers owing to the war in Ukraine.
There have been reports Putin is repurposing aging Soviet-era T-54B and T-55A tanks, some of which are as old as him and were designed at the behest of Josef Stalin, in further evidence that Russia is running out of options.
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The Kremlin has also reportedly been raiding museums and storage depots for long disused T-62 tanks which were last produced more than 12 years ago.
A source confirmed the decision to cancel the games, saying: "It was decided to hold the Army International Games every two years.
"Accordingly, this year the competitions were cancelled.
"The next games will be held in 2024."
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Last year, the Tank Biathlon was held in Russia alongside Azerbaijan, Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Iran, China and Uzbekistan.
The games have been used by the Kremlin as a way to show some military grandstanding.
It has been reported Russia has lost up to 2,000 tanks in the war, of which more than one in four have been captured by Ukraine.
The Tank Biathlon is a showcase of military skills and at one event defence minister Sergei Shoigu drove a tank to show off his own military credentials.
The cancellation of the Tank Biathlon comes amid reports of a troop build up on the border with Ukraine, raising concerns of a renewed offensive in the region by Russian forces.
It has long been speculated that Putin is gearing up for a massive spring offensive to try and break the quagmire which the war has turned into.
There was embarrassment for the Kremlin last year when Senior sergeant Alexei Bakulev, the winner of the 2017 Tank Biathlon, was killed in the war in Ukraine as he retreated.
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