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Russian Champion Tank Player Killed In Ukraine War

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Russian Champion Tank Player Killed In Ukraine War

A 25-year-old Russian has died fighting in Ukraine after becoming a world champion in an international tank warfare competition.

Bato Basanov, from Buryatia, was among the thousands of men to be sent across the border into Ukraine following Russian President Vladimir Putin's declaration of war in February.

He had previously found success in the tank biathlon competition, performing with a team last year in war games in front of defence minister Sergei Shoigu and chief of the army general staff Valery Gerasimov.

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Bato Basanov was sent to fought in Ukraine. Credit: East2West
Bato Basanov was sent to fought in Ukraine. Credit: East2West

The tank biathlon is one of the most famous parts of the International Army Games organised every year by Russia's Ministry of Defense, with the team that takes part chosen from local participants.

According to Auto Evolution, the first stage of the 2021 competition challenged Russian tanks to overcome both natural and man-made obstacles in a race which also included firing sections, penalty circles and areas where the crews have to demonstrate their skills in technical and medical training.

Basanov made it through the competition and was hailed last year for 'glorifying Russia by becoming a world champion in tank biathlon as part of his team'.

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He shot at the event without missing a single target at speeds of up to 50mph at the Alabino training ground in Moscow region, but died recently when his tank was hit during the ongoing conflict in Ukraine.

Basanov was killed after previously becoming a world champion in Russia's war games. Credit: East2West
Basanov was killed after previously becoming a world champion in Russia's war games. Credit: East2West

A report from Volya Media stated: “The death of Bato Basanov is grim confirmation that tank biathlon and real war are completely different things."

Basanov acted a gunner of the first company of the tank battalion of the 37th separate guards motorised rifle brigade of the Russian Air Defence Forces. His body took seven weeks to be retrieved following his death.

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In a joint statement, the 25-year-old's friends and family said: "Bato was an open, responsive, very sociable man, a faithful comrade and friend, who was always ready to come to the rescue.

"Cheerful, smiling and sincere, Bato has always been the pride of our family, a kind, honest, much-loved son.”

The exact number of Russian soldiers lost in the war remains unconfirmed, but it is believed to be in the tens of thousands.

If you have experienced a bereavement and would like to speak with someone in confidence contact Cruse Bereavement Care via their national helpline on 0808 808 1677 

Featured Image Credit: East2West News

Topics: News, Russia, Ukraine, Vladimir Putin, Politics

Emily Brown
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