A Russian soldier has reportedly handed himself and his tank over to Ukrainian troops for a reward of $10,000 (£7,500) and Ukrainian citizenship.
According to Ukrainian Minister of Internal Affairs Victor Andrusiv, Misha (not real names) was one of President Vladimir Putin’s invading soldiers, but he has now surrendered a T-72B3 main battle tank after his two other crewmates escaped home and his commanding officer threatened to shoot him.
Andrusiv said Misha had contacted Ukraine‘s national police by phone and arranged a place to meet but Ukraine had to be careful and send in a drone with camera to meet the soldier just to be sure it wasn’t an ambush.
He said: ‘For a few weeks in the National Police we have identified the phones used by Russians.
‘On these phones, we regularly send SMS about how to surrender and hand over the equipment.
‘A few days ago, Misha called us.
‘We handed over the information about him to the GUR MO [Ukrainian military intelligence].
‘He didn’t see the point of war.
Special forces then detained Misha, who lay face-down with his hand up as he surrendered.
The seized T-72B3 tank has the capacity for a three-person crew and is fitted with a 125 mm smoothbore main gun as well as a machine gun and an anti-tank guided missile. It is a relatively new Russian upgrade of their old T-72B tanks used by Ukraine.
Andrusiv added the Russian soldier will spend the remainder of the war as a prisoner in ‘comfortable conditions with a TV, phone, kitchen and shower’.
The surrender by the Russian soldier comes days after Ukrainian state arms manufacturer Ukroboronprom offered $1million for the capture of battle-ready Russian aircraft.
Ukroboronprom said: ‘To the pilots of the Russian Federation ready to participate in the programme, we guarantee the issuance of citizenship of a free country!’
The arms manufacturer also added it would give $500,000 for every combat helicopter seized from the Russians that could still be used.