Russia cancels annual ‘tank biathlon’ competition

29 April, 12:14 AM
There are no qualified personnel left in Russia to win prizes again (

There are no qualified personnel left in Russia to win prizes again (

Moscow has decided to forego hosting the International Army Games in 2023 – an international military competition event that included the so-called ‘tank biathlon’ discipline, cherished by Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, UK Defense Intelligence said in its April 28 daily report on Twitter.

The annual event saw tank crews competing in driving and shooting accuracy, and was intended to popularize military affairs among Russian citizens, on top of maintaining the prestige of the Russian army abroad.

According to the report, due to significant losses in both armored vehicles and personnel in the war with Ukraine, the Russian Ministry of Defense no longer has enough crews to compete at an adequate level.

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Since the start of the full-scale invasion of Ukraine, at least three of Russia's ‘tank biathlon’ champions – Maxim Zharko, Bato Basanov, and Alexey Bakulov – have been killed in action. It is likely that the Russian Ministry of Defense is concerned about the shortage of tanks, crews, and other qualified personnel due to the losses in Ukraine, which puts Russia's normal dominance in the medal standings at risk, the assessment says.

The message also notes that hosting the Army Games before the Ukraine’s anticipated counteroffensive may stir up dissatisfaction among the so-called "Z-patriots," who would criticize such military amusement in light of the Russian army's repeated setbacks on the battlefield.

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