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Ukrainian Officer’s unconventional solution: Calling Russian tech support for a captured tank


In the midst of Russia’s extended conflict with Ukraine, Ukrainian forces have managed to seize approximately 200 Russian T-72B3 tanks, a relatively modern addition to Russia’s armored inventory. The capture of these tanks posed a unique challenge for the Ukrainian army, as their familiarity with this particular model was limited. In an unexpected turn of events, one Ukrainian officer, operating under the callsign “Kochevnik,” resorted to an unconventional solution when he encountered technical issues with his captured Russian T-72B3: he dialed up Uralvagonzavod’s tech support in Russia. Remarkably, this unusual move yielded positive results.

Kochevnik is a member of the Ukrainian army’s 54th Mechanized Brigade, stationed in the eastern Ukrainian city of Kramatorsk. This brigade primarily operates Soviet-era equipment, including T-64 tanks and BMP fighting vehicles. However, it also boasts a few ex-Russian T-72B3 tanks among its inventory.

While Kochevnik’s initial motivation might have been to taunt the Russians, the problems he encountered with the 45-ton, three-person tank were undeniably genuine. The tank was plagued by issues, including oil leaks, malfunctioning compressors, and a faulty electrical turret-rotation mechanism, which compelled the crew to manually rotate the turret using a hand crank. While it’s not unusual for tanks to experience occasional malfunctions, the extent of the problems Kochevnik faced hinted at potential inconsistencies in Uralvagonzavod’s manufacturing processes.

In a surprising twist, a Russian named Aleksander Anatolevich, who was unaware of Kochevnik’s Ukrainian affiliation, responded to the call for help. Aleksander not only pledged to bring these issues to the attention of the design bureau in Nizhny Tagil but also committed to contacting the engine manufacturer in Chelyabinsk, demonstrating a commitment to resolving the tank’s problems.

Kochevnik didn’t stop at this point; he also managed to reach Andrey Abakumov, a director at Uralvagonzavod. Abakumov requested that Kochevnik provide a detailed description of the tank’s problems through WhatsApp.

It was during this conversation that Kochevnik finally revealed his true identity as a Ukrainian soldier and that his army had captured the problematic T-72 around Izium late the previous year. The revelation was met with laughter, marking an unexpectedly humorous conclusion to this cross-border tech support interaction.

Kochevnik’s decision to call Russian tech support for assistance with a captured tank underscores the complexities and unexpected moments that can arise in times of conflict. It also highlights the human element that transcends political and national boundaries when individuals share common goals or interests. While the broader conflict in the region continues, this unusual episode serves as a reminder of the unpredictable and sometimes amusing stories that can emerge from the frontlines of war.

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