Russian army
New videos show Russia using golf cart-style vehicles to transport its troops.  Wikimedia Commons

Videos have surfaced that show Russia deploying vulnerable golf cart-style vehicles near the Ukrainian frontlines. Made in China, these vehicles are more commonly used on farms and construction sites.

This deployment is probably in response to the substantial losses of armoured vehicles Russia sustained during the war. For instance, the Ukrainian Armed Forces shot down 10 Russian warplanes (worth a total of £611 million) earlier this month.

According to Forbes, a video appears to show a Russian armoured column, including a slew of Desertcross 1000-3 all-terrain vehicles, attacking Ukrainian positions in Donetsk Oblast.

Forbes further reports that the video shows these vehicles, used to transport infantry to the frontlines, being destroyed by shells and drone-dropped explosives. The video concludes with a haunting scene - the open-top vehicles, now mangled wreckage, lie abandoned in the mud.

A separate video shows a similar vehicle being destroyed by an anti-tank mine and other photos allegedly more abandoned all-terrain vehicles scattered across a field. Forbes' David Axe pointed out that these vehicles are not designed to be used on the battlefield since they lack armour and weaponry.

Instead, Axe noted that these vehicles are usually seen on farms and construction sites. "It's reckless, if not insane, to deploy an open-top, unarmored all-terrain vehicle — in essence, a heavy-duty golf cart — in combat just a quarter mile from the front line," Axe wrote.

A risky move? Russia is using unarmored vehicles in Ukraine

In December, Russia made a bulk purchase of hundreds of Chinese-made vehicles, per Financial Times. This move aligns with reports suggesting Russia's growing reliance on Chinese suppliers for equipment.

At the time, local media captured footage of President Vladimir Putin examining these off-road buggies. Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu reportedly hailed them as "extremely in demand."

Despite China's denials of supplying military equipment to Russia, Ukraine's allies remain concerned. They argue that even non-lethal goods can be repurposed for use on the battlefield.

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said last year that Russia was "dependent on willing third-country individuals and entities to resupply its military and perpetuate its heinous war against Ukraine. We will not hesitate in holding them accountable."

Shandong Odes, the Chinese company that makes the vehicle, could face repercussions from US authorities citing its significant sales volume in that country, Financial Times reported. These all-terrain vehicles are popular in the US among farmers and power sports enthusiasts.

According to a previous intelligence update from the UK Defense Ministry, Russia has incurred significant losses since launching its invasion of Ukraine, amounting to roughly 2,600 main battle tanks and 4,900 other armoured vehicles.

As the war grinds into its third year, both Russia and Ukraine struggle with dwindling personnel and equipment. Putin, however, said in an interview with US journalist Tucker Carlson last month that the West should understand it is "impossible" to defeat Russia in Ukraine.