Cheap Chinese tires have been blamed for a Russian convoy of armoured vehicles being unable to reach Kyiv.
Yesterday, the Ministry of Defence issued an update revealing that a convoy of Russian tanks advancing on the capital of Ukraine remained 30km from the centre of the city having made little progress over the previous three days because of “Ukranian resistance, mechanical breakdown and congestion.”
Karl Muth, an academic based at the University of Chicago and a self-described tire expert, took to Twitter to set out a theory blaming cheap Chinese tires for the slow advance of Russian vehicles.
“Those aren’t Soviet-era heavy truck radials,” Muth said, commenting on a photo of a Russian army vehicle with ripped tires.
Instead Muth believes the trucks use “Chinese military tires, and I believe specifically the Yellow Sea YS20.”
“This is a tire I first encountered in Somalia and Sudan. it’s a bad Chinese copy of the excellent Michelin XZL military tire design,” he continued.
Former pentagon staff member Trent Telenko also got stuck into the debate and said “poor Russian army truck maintenance practices” has created a risk of equipment failure.
“When you leave military truck tires in one place for months on end. The side walls get rotted/brittle such that using low tire pressure setting for any appreciable distance will cause the tires to fail catastrophically via rips,” Telenko said.
“There is a huge operational level implication in this,” Telenko continued, pointing out that the equipment is too fragile to cope with muddy terrain forcing the Russian convoy to stick to raised paths.
“The Crimea is a desert and the South Ukrainian coastal areas are dryer. So we are not seeing this there. But elsewhere the Russians have a huge problem for the next 4-to-6 weeks,” he concluded.