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Moscow shows off seized Western military equipment

Agence France-Presse
  Kathmandu, Nepal      August 18 2023

In the Moscow region's Patriot Park, dedicated to the achievements of the Russian army, an officer wearing a green cap stood in front of a captured US MaxxPro armoured vehicle.

"It was abandoned on a battlefield because it stopped working," the serviceman told Russian state-run agency TASS.

He then turned to a British Husky vehicle, whose windshield was riddled with what seemed to be bullet holes.

Around him, more Western military equipment was on display, an opportunity for the Russian army to flaunt its achievements and mock the counteroffensive that Ukraine launched in June.

A few metres away, another Russian officer was showing off a French AMX-10 RC and its famously long anti-tank gun.

The collection of "trophies" that AFP journalists saw Tuesday also included an Australian Bushmaster Protected Mobility Vehicle, a US M113 personnel carrier and a Swedish CV90 combat vehicle.

"A large part" of the show consisted of British equipment, including Husky and Mastiff vehicles as well as a Saxon personnel carrier, according to the defence ministry press service.

Former Russian president Dmitry Medvedev, who now deals with questions related to the country's military industry as the deputy dead of the Russian security council, visited the exhibition on Wednesday.

"Advanced technologies, that's worth looking at," he said while inspecting a military vehicle purportedly from Australia, according to footage from Russian state-run agency RIA Novosti.

Medvedev also looked at items supposed to show the "ideological indoctrination" of the Ukrainian youth, including clothes with national slogans and emblems of the Azov regiment -- considered an extremist organisation in Russia.

- 'Ready to share' -

The exhibition also featured Ukrainian-made weapons allegedly seized since the start of the military campaign in February 2022.

Last summer, the Russian army had already presented equipment it said it brought back from Ukraine.

The display is one of the attractions at the Army-2023 Forum, which runs until August 20 and is attended by military delegations from countries deemed "friendly" by Moscow.

After the setbacks last year -- with the withdrawal from Kherson and the northern Kharkiv region -- the Russian army wants to show it has recovered.

Ukraine launched another counteroffensive in June but its troops are now contending with well-entrenched Russian positions.

Ukrainian troops' slow progress provided the Kremlin with a new talking point: the counteroffensive, it says, is a failure.

"Ukraine's military resources are almost exhausted," Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu told an assembly of international military officials on Tuesday.

He said there was "nothing unique" about Western weapons and that they were not invulnerable to Russian arms on the battlefield.

"We are ready to share assessments of the weaknesses of Western technology," Shoigu said.

More than 17 months into the offensive, the capabilities of its military-industrial complex is one of the major challenges for the Kremlin.

Shoigu said Russia had succeeded in "strongly" increasing its production of armoured vehicles, despite international sanctions.

Western representatives accuse former Soviet Republics, as well as China, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates, of importing and then exporting to Russia embargoed equipment that could be used to manufacture weapons.