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Old Soviet-made BTR-60PB & BTR-70 APCs continue to be used in the war in Ukraine

Despite the age of the BTR-60PB and BTR-70 armored personnel carriers, which were designed in the 1950s and 1960s, both pro-Russian units within the Russian Armed Forces and the Ukrainian army continue to utilize these vehicles in the ongoing conflict in Ukraine. The persistence of these older models on the battlefield highlights the diverse range of equipment being employed in the conflict.
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Russian BTR-60PB used by Pro-Russian forces. (Picture source Social Network)

The People's Militia of the Donetsk People's Republic and the People's Militia of the Luhansk People's Republic are pro-Russian paramilitary forces operating in the Donbas region of eastern Ukraine. They are under the overall control of the Russian Federation and are often referred to as Russian separatist forces or Russian proxy forces.

Armament Research Services (ARES) reports that these rebel forces primarily use equipment that was available domestically before the Ukrainian crisis. However, they have also been spotted with weapons not known to have been exported to Ukraine or otherwise available there, including some of the latest models of Russian military equipment never exported outside Russia.

The Donetsk People's Republic claims that all of its military equipment was captured by the Ukrainian military. However, both the Ukrainian government and the United States Department of State have disputed this claim.

Pro-Russian separatists have been observed using various Russian equipment, including T-72B3 and T-72BA modifications of T-72 tanks, BTR-82AM infantry fighting vehicles, BPM-97 armored personnel carriers, Pantsir-S1 anti-aircraft systems, GAZ Vodnik multipurpose vehicles, Russian modifications of MT-LB, MRO-A rocket-propelled flamethrowers, Kornet anti-tank missiles, ASVK anti-materiel rifles, and VSS Vintorez suppressed sniper rifles, among others.

According to open source military information, before the war in Ukraine, the Ukrainian armed forces had 322 wheeled Armored Personnel Carriers (APCs) including BTR-60PB, BTR-70, and BTR-80. 

Old Soviet made BTR 60PB BTR 70 APCs continue to be used in the war in Ukraine 925 002
A BTR-70 wheeled APC Armored Personnel Carrier of the Ukrainian armed forces. (Picture source Social Network)

In addition to these modern weapons, pro-Russian forces are also using older Russian equipment in the ongoing conflict, such as T-62 tanks and the aged BTR-60PB and BTR-70 wheeled armored personnel carriers. These vehicles are typically only deployed in Russia with reserve forces.

The BTR-60PB is a Soviet-era 8x8 wheeled armored personnel carrier (APC) introduced in the 1960s. It features an enclosed troop compartment, a turret-mounted 14.5 mm KPVT heavy machine gun, and a coaxial 7.62 mm PKT machine gun. Designed for amphibious operations, the BTR-60PB is equipped with a water jet propulsion system for river crossings and can carry up to 14 personnel, including the crew. Despite its age, this APC has seen extensive use in various conflicts and is still employed by some forces today, including pro-Russian separatists in Ukraine.

The BTR-70 is a Soviet-era 8x8 wheeled armored personnel carrier (APC) developed in the 1970s as an improvement over the earlier BTR-60PB. It features enhanced armor protection, a more powerful engine, and improved amphibious capabilities. Armed with a turret-mounted 14.5 mm KPVT heavy machine gun and a coaxial 7.62 mm PKT machine gun, the BTR-70 can carry up to 10 personnel, including the crew. Despite being replaced by more advanced models in the Russian military, the BTR-70 remains in service with various armed forces worldwide and has seen action in numerous conflicts, including its use by pro-Russian separatists in Ukraine.

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