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‘Anime-loving fighters’ capture US-made Bradley vehicle

A Russian military unit has found itself in the media spotlight, after humorous videos of the soldiers capturing a US-made Bradley infantry fighting vehicle from the Ukrainian army went viral.

Their reported interest in anime has further stirred up public interest.

  • One of the clips showed servicemen from the Kerch unit posing in front of an apparently intact piece of US-made weaponry, sarcastically thanking Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky for delivering “this nice vehicle” to them. Another clip showed one of them making a face to the camera, with the trophy in the background, and saying: “There you go – glory to Russia!”

The footage appeared earlier in the week and was widely shared on Russian social networks, before making its way into the national media.

As interest grew, some outlets reported that the fighters – all of whom volunteered to serve in the army – were also anime fans.


While Japanese animation art has a diverse global fanbase, it’s still viewed as niche in Russia.

Public images shared on the messenger app Telegram by one of the squad members shows his keen interest in anime.

In one photo, a Kerch fighter can be seen wearing a helmet with a picture of a fox-girl drawn with her tongue out and eyes crossed – an expression known as ‘ahegao’ which features in erotic manga.

Another image shows the man behind the channel, who goes by call sign Lesiy, with a patch on his ballistic vest depicting an armed anime girl in a Russian ‘ushanka’ hat.

  • After the unit’s sudden rise to internet fame, Lesiy reacted with a joke post showing two anime girls standing next to an armored vehicle, captioned: “It seems like we’ve opened Pandora’s Box”.

The anime theme is part of a running joke for the soldiers. Leshiy, whose real name is Vladislav, described the unit’s frontline service as attending “an anime festival” in Donbass in one of his first posts last year.

But at least one member of the Kerch unit is a genuine enthusiast. A 19-year-old serviceman going by the nickname Shmyga was mentioned last year by the leader of a Russian anime fan group, involved in supporting the Russian troops. According to the news outlet Readovka, the soldier “loves anime girls” and carries with him a ‘dakimakura’ – a Japanese-style large pillow featuring an anime character.

Source: RT