Russian soldiers who wipe out American armored vehicles in Ukraine will be rewarded with hefty cash bonuses, officials in Moscow said Friday.
“Payments are currently being made to servicemen of the Russian Federation Armed Forces who in the course of military operations destroyed Leopard tanks, as well as armored fighting vehicles made in the USA and other NATO countries,” the Russian Defense Ministry said, citing reports from field commanders.
The bonuses are part of a larger reward program — in which more than 10,000 Russian troops were given individual bonuses — to incentivize soldiers after Russia’s brutal invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, Moscow said.
Russian soldiers who destroy an enemy tank are rewarded with $1,200 prize while an armored vehicle earns $600, according to Russian officials.
Russian pilots who obliterate US-supplied Himars rocket systems will also rake in $3,600 for every Ukrainian helicopter or plane.
The reward announcement Friday comes after Russian defense minister Sergei Shoigu awarded soldiers with a “Hero of Russia gold star” medal for allegedly taking out US-made Bradley fighting vehicles and German-built Leopard tanks.
Earlier this week, the Kremlin released footage of captured Bradleys and Leopard tanks, boasting, “These are our trophies.”
But the cash bonus plan has been plagued by corruption schemes in which soldiers have misled superiors in a bid to earn more money for themselves, the BBC reported earlier this month.
In an interview aired Thursday, Ukrainian President Zelensky Volodymyr Zelensky said its counteroffensive is going as planned.
“Things look not bad,”he told NBC News. “I would say it’s generally positive, but it’s difficult.”
A British intelligence update said Friday a senior Russian general was “almost certainly killed” in a Ukrainian missile strike in the Zaporizhzhia region earlier this week.
-With Post wires
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