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Ukrainian tank crews feigning damage to avoid fighting Russians – Spiegel

Some Ukrainian tank crews have been faking malfunctions on their tanks to justify not going into combat against Russian forces, fellow soldiers operating German Leopards have told Spiegel magazine.

The revelation was part of a frontline report published by the news outlet. The magazine spoke to three German-trained Ukrainian troops who were among the crew of two Leopard 2A6 tanks provided to Ukraine by the Bundeswehr.

One of them said he didn’t blame those who are refusing.

“If they hit the turret, you’re a heap of ashes,” a man identified as Misha told Spiegel.

Nevertheless, the magazine praised the capabilities of the German tank, describing it as a “fortress in camo colors.”

Another soldier, nicknamed Gutsik, said that dodging an engagement altogether was better than entering combat only to pull out after the first shot, explaining why he felt no ill will about the ploy.

The scenes described by the magazine appeared chaotic and tense, with the Ukrainians suffering losses. Some of the German tanks were destroyed or damaged in the offensive, as was other Western hardware.

  • On one occasion, two soldiers came to seek advice on how they could kick-start an older Leopard 2A4 that had become stranded in ‘no-man’s land’ between Ukrainian and Russian positions.

The Spiegel report was based on a conversation that took place about a week into Kiev’s counteroffensive against Russian defensive positions in Zaporozhye Region. It said the soldiers interviewed were all veterans and among the most experienced tank operators in Ukraine.

  • All had traveled to Germany to take a five-week course on how to operate the Leopards.

Kiev launched its long-expected counteroffensive this month, hoping to take advantage of Western-made weapons, including main battle tanks that it previously didn’t have, to push back the Russians. However, the Russian military has reported repelling numerous assaults and inflicting heavy losses on Ukrainian forces.

Source: RT