As Ukraine is expected to receive Western tanks in the coming months, Russian companies have reportedly stated that soldiers who destroy an American Abrams tank will be rewarded with millions of dollars.
The famous Russian actor and director Ivan Okhlobystin announced the reward, reported Military Review.
Okhlobystin claims that representatives from major Russian industries promised a reward of approximately 10 million rubles (about $141,000) for each destroyed or captured American M1 Abrams tank in Ukraine.
On January 25, the US announced that Ukraine would receive 31 modified M1A2 Abrams tanks, the newest and most technologically advanced iteration of the tank that initially saw deployment in the early 1990s.
Russian forces will face these tanks in action in the coming months, so Russian media is heavily spotlighting the Abrams’ vulnerabilities and encouraging its troops to seize or destroy this cutting-edge American military equipment.
“It is with undisguised pleasure that I hasten to inform you that some representatives of a large Russian business have authorized me to inform you that they are assigning a premium of 10 million rubles for each Abrams knocked out. Goida!” Okhlobystin wrote.
According to Rossiyskaya Gazeta, Russian service members had already been offered a reward of five million rubles by Russian company Fores for the first Abrams or Leopard tank to be destroyed.
Furthermore, some reports claimed that if the US chooses to provide F-15 and F-16 fighters to Ukraine, industry executives have offered even more impressive rewards for their destruction.
In addition, several Russian military Telegram channels apparently offered one million rubles to troops who would destroy the first American BMP M2 Bradley on the battlefield.
The M2 Bradley is an American-made infantry fighting vehicle designed to transport and assist foot soldiers.
Western Technology Could Fall Into Russian Hands
Kyiv believes tanks are essential for getting past Russian defenses and mounting a potential counteroffensive. The US has pledged to send 31 M1 Abrams tanks to Kyiv.
Meanwhile, the German government declared it would provide 14 Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine from its arsenal. Additionally, Germany let other nations transfer their Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine, which was previously prohibited by export laws.
Due to its widespread use in most European militaries and continental NATO forces, Germany’s Leopard 2 tanks are also easier to maintain and have easy access to supplies.
Besides that, Britain is also sending 14 Challenger 2 tanks to Ukraine. At the same time, London referred to the scenario where a British tank ends up in Russian hands as a “nightmare.”
The British military is worried that Russian scientists would learn about the secret technology employed in its design.
The British military is devising a contingency plan to retrieve British tanks in case they are destroyed in Ukraine to prevent top-secret armor and technology from slipping into Russian hands.
The top brass is cooperating with Ukraine’s high command to ensure that British tanks can be hauled back to safety if rendered inoperable.
The deadly Challenger 2s are shielded by unparalleled Chobham armor, created from a blend of ceramics, steel, and shock-absorbing materials.
In September 2022, the EurAsian Times reported that a reward of one million Rubles had been offered by Russia’s Center for Analysis of Strategies and Technologies (CAST) to any person or group from a military or law enforcement entity who can successfully capture the Estonia-made tracked unmanned ground vehicle, THeMIS, intact to examine its technology.
Meanwhile, Russia criticized the US plan to send Abrams to Ukraine. But the Russian leadership appears confident that Abrams won’t present a serious strategic threat.
Russian ambassador to the United States, Anatoly Antonov, previously said, “If a decision to transfer M1 Abrams to Kyiv is made, American tanks without any doubt will be destroyed as all other samples of NATO military equipment.”
Experts predict that Russians will try their best to destroy and seize a western-made tank, primarily for propaganda purposes and to gain access to its secrets.
Nevertheless, defense analysts have emphasized that even though tanks can be quite useful, they won’t be the game-changer as some might expect.