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20 Jun, 2023 16:04

Russian soldier collects reward for destroying German tank

Andrey Kravtsov was awarded the bonus for eliminating a Leopard 2 in Ukraine
Russian soldier collects reward for destroying German tank

Andrey Kravtsov has become the first Russian soldier to receive a million-ruble reward, the equivalent of $13,000, for destroying a German-made Leopard tank on the battlefield in Ukraine. The money was provided by entrepreneurs from Novosibirsk Region through the Care of Siberia fund.

The Russian Defense Ministry announced on Tuesday that Kravtsov had personally been handed the certificate by Novosibirsk senator and three-time Olympic wrestling champion Alexander Karelin.

“These are wonderful additional payments for those who cause significant damage to the enemy,” Karelin said, explaining that these payments are an additional reward and not a substitute for any state payouts. 

Kravtsov is currently undergoing treatment for his wounds at the National Medical Research Center for High Medical Technologies in Moscow. The soldier says he did not even know that he had successfully destroyed a German tank during the battle until he arrived at the hospital.

“Heavy artillery was firing upon us. The tank was also targeting us,” Kravtsov recalled in a video released by the Defense Ministry. “I took a grenade launcher and began to go around from the flank, to identify the armored vehicles that were firing on us.”

“I fired. There was smoke. Only after I came to the hospital did I find out that it was a German Leopard,” he said.

The soldier stressed that money was not the motivation behind his decision to take part in Russia’s military operation, and he simply wanted to defend his country. “I’m a patriot. I love my country,” Kravtsov said.

Ever since Kiev’s Western backers started delivering increasingly advanced weaponry to the Ukrainian Armed Forces, a number of Russian regional authorities, as well as private entrepreneurs, have offered bounties for the destruction of foreign weaponry on the battlefield.

Last week, a group of Russian pop stars also offered one million rubles to any Russian servicemen who successfully destroy or capture Western-supplied military hardware in Ukraine. 

Before that, similar bounties were issued by the governor of Zabaikalsky Region in eastern Russia and the chemical manufacturer Fores. In February, the Pavel Sudoplatov Battalion, an international volunteer unit created in the part of Zaporozhye Region held by Russia, offered to “pay 12 million rubles ($170,000) for each serviceable captured Leopard, Abrams, or Challenger tank.” 

Commenting on such offers, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said in February that they were proof of the “unity and the desire of all” to contribute to achieving the goals of Russia’s ongoing military campaign.