Russia wins tank biathlon, but escalating tensions leave competition limited

Hoped for Nato competitors don't turn up as Russia comes first and second

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The Independent Online

Russia has taken first place in the tank biathlon world championship — a victory over fewer competitors than the country would have hoped, after the Nato countries that it hoped had join in the competition didn't turn up.

Russia had said after last year's competition that Nato countries would take part in the competition, alongside teams from ex-USSR and other allied countries. But as relations between Russia and the US and Europe weakened, none of those countries joined in.

Teams from Armenia, Belarus, China, India, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Kuwait, Mongolia and Serbia competed with Russia for the final prize, crossing various obstacles like water troughs and ridges. The rules are based on the traditional biathlon, requiring tanks to race around a track and hit targets.

All of the teams used Russian T-72B tanks, apart from China which used its own Type-96A model.

Russia also used the event to demonstrate its military might, showing fighter jets and helicopters firing rockets and cannons.

The competition began on August 4, and ran until Saturday when Russia was victorious. Russian teams took first and second place in the competition, with Kazakhstan coming third.

The first tank biathlons took place in 2013.