Jan 30 (Reuters) – A Russian company said it would offer five million rubles ($72,000) in cash to the first soldiers who destroyed or captured Western-made tanks in Ukraine, after the Kremlin vowed that Russian forces would destroy any Western tanks shipped to Ukraine. . Ukraine.
The United States, Germany and several other European countries are lining up to send dozens of advanced battle tanks to Kyiv over the next few months to help boost Ukraine’s military capability as the war approaches its 12-month threshold.
The Kremlin criticized the decision as a dangerous escalation, and spokesman Dmitry Peskov said tanks would be “burned” on the front lines.
Now a Russian company — Fores, a Ural-based company that makes prop materials for the energy industry — is offering cash payments to Russian soldiers who “capture or destroy” German-made Leopard 2 tanks or American-made Abrams tanks.
The company said it would pay 5 million rubles for the first Russian soldier to destroy one of the tanks and 500,000 rubles ($7,200) for all subsequent attacks.
Echoing language used by pro-war Russian officials and state television hosts, Forss said NATO was pumping Ukraine an “unlimited” amount of weapons and escalating the conflict. It also said it would pay 15 million rubles ($215,000) for the Western-made fighter jets, if they were delivered to Ukraine.
The tanks have not yet been sent to Kyiv, and it may take several months before the bulk of the promised shipments are sent.
Since the start of the conflict, the Russian Ministry of Defense has claimed to have destroyed hundreds of pieces of Western weapons.
Kyiv has previously rejected these statements, highlighting for example that Russia claimed to have destroyed more US-made HIMARS missile launchers than ever delivered to the country.
Previous deliveries of advanced Western weaponry, especially HIMARS, are credited with turning the tide of the 11-month war, helping Kyiv secure a string of surprising victories and pushing back Russian forces from territory captured at the start of the invasion.
($ 1 – 69.57 rubles)
Reporting by Jake Cordell. Editing by Jay Faulconbridge
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