Russia has started moving an armoured fighting vehicle nicknamed the “Terminator” around a Ukrainian city which shows their “determination” to capture the area, a military expert has told Sky News.
Justin Crump, a veteran British army tank commander, said Russia was “quite proud” of the vehicle, which is used to support other tanks and “suppress” enemy fire when launching assaults in urban areas.
Russia is reported to be “bringing them in around Severodonetsk” in Ukraine – showing its “determination to assault that city”.
The BMPT-72 was developed by Russian machine company Uralvagonzavod and was built on the chassis of the T-72 battle tank.
It can carry heavy force during any assault as well as increase the success of a tank operation.
The vehicle has an unmanned turret armed with four launchers and can engage with other tanks and artillery, including low-flying helicopters.
The vehicle also has an automatic smoke grenade launcher, which can provide protection and camouflage against infrared weapons.
Armed with two 30mm cannons, it can fire a wide range of ammunition including high-explosive rounds.
In 2013, a follow-up model to the vehicle was shown off – dubbed Terminator 2 – which saw it carry upgrades, but still possessed many similarities to its predecessor.
It can be used to destroy tanks and suppress enemy fire using its launchers and anti-tank systems.
Russia was said to be so proud of the Terminator 2 model it aimed it at the export market.
Mr Crump told Sky News: “This is a signature Russian piece of equipment. They’ve only got about nine of these.
“It’s nicknamed the Terminator – it’s a tank support vehicle. It’s designed to do the work of infantry in support of tanks. So it’s a tank with a turret designed to suppress enemy infantry.
“They haven’t committed them yet to the fight. It’s one of the things Russia is quite proud of – it’s what they’ve been trying to export.
“They are now bringing them in around Severodonetsk. I think this shows Russia’s determination to assault that city sooner rather than later.
“By capturing this area around Severodonetsk, that allows them to have declared a success in freeing Luhansk.”