- Ukraine filled a tank with explosives and sent it towards Russian positions, a brigade said.
- Turning tanks into huge bombs is a tactic Russia has been using in Ukraine.
- The driver said he knew it would be “instant death” if the tank was hit and the explosives went off.
Ukrainian troops turned the table on Russia by using its own tactic of turning tanks into huge, rolling bombs against it.
A spokesman for Ukraine’s 128th Mountain Assault Brigade said on Facebook on Sunday that the unit “used a new tactic against the Russians in Zaporizhzhia Oblast – a trophy kamikaze tank.
The tactic is one Russia has used in its attacks on Ukraine. They tend to create an enormous explosion, as seen in this video from a Russian attack (there is a small blast followed by a much bigger one at around 1:02 minutes).
Though its impact is impressive, the UK Ministry of Defence previously said many of the tank-bombs are destroyed before they can get close enough to do much harm.
The brigade said it used a captured Russian tank to make the explosive — specifically a decades-old T-62 it took earlier in the war.
The spokesman, Yaroslav Halas, said a Ukrainian tank driver had to drive the explosive-filled tank most of the way to its target.
He then had to jump out and flee before using a remote control to detonate the tank.
He said the operation didn’t go exactly to plan, as it tank hit a mine before reaching Russian fortifications. But he said the resulting explosion “was so severe that nobody disturbed our infantry from those positions anymore.”
Halas identified the tank driver as Vasil Dudinets, who he said joined Ukraine’s military in March last year, one month after Russia launched its full-scale invasion of Ukraine.
He quoted Dudinets as saying: “Naturally, I was fully aware that I might not make it back. But it would have been instant death if the tank had been hit and the explosives had gone off.”
The 128th Brigade said on Facebook that it used a Russian T-62 tank. The UK’s defense ministry says these tanks were first adopted by the Soviet Union in 1961, which stopped building new ones in the 1970s.
Russia has been using decades-old tanks in its invasion of Ukraine due to its shortages of modern equipment. Ukraine has a lot of the same equipment, thanks to its past as part of the Soviet Union, and a small number of advance Western tanks.
The brigade said it captured the T-62 from Russia earlier in the war, as Russian troops fled in the Kherson region last fall.
The brigade described T-62s as outdated and poorly protected. It said its gun was damaged and that it was used as a tractor before they decided to turn it into a rolling bomb.
Dudinets said he signed up for the mission as he wanted to be unharmed or dead, rather than losing limbs like many soldiers and requiring constant care.
“I prefer to come back unharmed or die instantly. That is why I signed up right away when the commanders told me about the combat mission.”
He said the war must be “ended as soon as possible so that we could go home and raise our children.”