Half of our tanks don’t move and the other half don’t fire. This is what the 21-year-old Russian prisoner of war from Tatarstan Yury Mikhailovich Kornilov stated in an interview with the Ukrainian blogger Volodymyr Zolkin. According to him, there is also a lack of specialists to repair the malfunctioning equipment.
Before coming to Ukraine, Kornilov served in Ulan-Ude in unit 46 108, and in Ukraine he was a T-72B tank surveyor-operator. His participation in the Ukrainian war began at the checkpoint of the occupied territories, where he checked passers-by for explosives and suspicious luggage. After some time, the Russians formed a reserve tank unit of locals from the DPR and LPR and Kornilov and two more from Russia attached to that unit. When they went to get their tanks, Yuri Kornilov was appointed as a driver mechanic.
“For four days we went to a ravine to shoot. They trained people from the DNR. We went down into a valley and shot up. Then on September 1 they said: Prepare for a march. We loaded up, went through Melitopol, a beautiful city (handsome, but not yours, Zolkin intervenes), our unloading point was Sergeevka. We arrived in Sergeevka and unloaded 10 tanks. They said: March, prepare them for their own move, load the equipment, service it, oil, watch everything. They gave us 4 hours, it was at night. From Sergeevka we went down to the Dnieper River. Three tanks put us on a pontoon, pulled us to the other shore, immediately opened fire on us. We retreated to a safe place, hid. The company commander went out to contact his own, they passed through Zhidomost, we waited for them. At night, we had a march to this village, where all six tanks hit us,” – says Kornilov.
Those who started to get out of the tanks were immediately shot. “When I saw this, I went to the side of the road and started to turn, I wanted to get back.” According to instructions, in such a case, the crew should take up a circular defense, but the fighter decided to turn around and save the crew, because the tank he was driving did not could shoot.
And what’s the point of driving a tank that doesn’t shoot, wonders Zolkin. “That’s our command.” – answered Kornilov and added that the reason the tank did not fire was that the loading cycle could not be done, and since there were no fitters, there was no one to repair it. The test shots in the ravine were of working tanks from the pure reserve. However, they could not start or walk at all because they threw oil or were blocked.
The tanks were divided into two groups – some shoot but do not move, the others move but do not shoot.
After Kornilov’s attempt to turn around and flee the ambush site, his tank was struck by a Javelin on the right side. He tried to rev up, but his right side was no longer working and he swerved. The tank burst into flames, he got out of the burning hatch and jumped into a trench. The ammunition in the tank began to explode. All 6 tanks burned. Of all the crews, only Yuri Kornilov survived.