The Russian government has been rewarding troops with large sums of money for destroying Leopard tanks built in Germany and armoured vehicles provided by the US in Ukraine. According to the Russian defence ministry, soldiers will receive about 100,000 rubles (£1,000) for successfully taking out an enemy tank and 50,000 rubles (£500) for successfully taking out an armoured vehicle.
This programme, which includes other initiatives, aims to inspire soldiers taking part in Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine. Additionally, for every Ukrainian helicopter or warplane that is shot down, soldiers will receive 300,000 rubles (£2,800).
The same sum will be awarded to those who destroy HIMARS rockets made in the US.
As of May 31, it was reported that 10,200 Russian military personnel had been paid for destroying more than 16,000 pieces of military hardware given by the West and Ukraine.
The Russian defence ministry said: “Payments are currently being made to servicemen of the Russian Federation Armed Forces who in the course of military operations destroyed Leopard tanks, as well as armoured fighting vehicles made in the USA and other NATO countries.”
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Meanwhile, Ukrainian forces may have put their counteroffensive operations on hold as they review their tactics, according to the Institute for the Study of War, a Washington-based think tank.
Ukraine’s military operation in the southern region of the country, aimed at disrupting the Russian land connection to Crimea, has faced significant challenges. The fighting has primarily occurred far ahead of Russia’s well-established defence positions in the area.
During the initial stages of the offensive, clashes erupted, resulting in Ukrainian mechanized infantry units finding themselves exposed in open fields.
The presence of mines and artillery inflicted heavy damage on armoured vehicles supplied by Western nations, with images of burning US-made Bradley vehicles and disabled Leopard tanks quickly shared on Russian military telegram channels.
Moscow’s military leaders seem to have caught their Ukrainian counterparts off guard by mounting a determined resistance, even before the completion of extensive lines of trenches and bunkers that guard the route to Crimea, as well as the cities of Melitopol and Mariupol along the coast.
In response to “increased attacks by the occupiers,” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said Monday in his nightly address that Ukrainian soldiers were “moving forward in some directions, defending their positions in some directions.”
“We have no lost positions. Only liberated ones,” he asserted.
It wasn’t possible to independently verify battlefield claims by either side.
Russia is also pursuing offensive actions, according to Ukrainian Deputy Defense Minister Hanna Maliar.
Russia has concentrated a significant number of its military units, and particularly airborne assault troops, in Ukraine’s east, she said.
They are stepping up Moscow’s offensive around Kupiansk in Ukraine’s northeastern Kharkiv province and Lyman in the eastern Donetsk province, Maliar said on Telegram.
Russia attacked south and southeast Ukraine overnight with cruise missiles and self-exploding drones, Ukraine’s air force reported Monday.