Ukraine captures Russian 'barn' tank modified against drone threat

By Anna Voitenko

DONETSK REGION, Ukraine (Reuters) - The Ukrainians call it a "barn" tank, a bizarre-looking Russian battlefield vehicle captured by Kyiv's forces that shows how troops are trying to adapt to the constant threat of drone attacks.

The vehicle, built from a ramshackle, rusted T-62 tank, was modified to have a boxy metal shell as its exterior, a cage at its rear and electronic warfare devices attached to it, soldiers told Reuters after it was captured this week.

They say it was used to shuttle around food, ammunition and troops. Its canopy appeared aimed at protecting against drone attacks, particularly cheaply produced FPV (First-Person-View) drones, which are strapped with a munition and flown to their target by a pilot watching on a screen.

"It was created to defend from FPV drones and (drone bomb) drops. It's an empty taxi for personnel with electronic warfare as its only defence," Serhiy Misiura, a lieutenant colonel, said on an official Ukrainian army television station.

Nearly 28 months since Russia launched its full-scale invasion, the use of drones by both sides has become ubiquitous on the battlefield, making it difficult to advance or operate safely.

"They clearly didn't work hard on it. They hastily put it on and sent the tank to the frontline," said Dmytro, a Ukrainian soldier who spoke to Reuters about the vehicle in the Donetsk region.

They said the vehicle was captured near Klishchiivka, a village gripped by fighting for months on end near the Russian-occupied city of Bakhmut.

Dmytro said getting in and out carrying equipment was difficult through its tiny hatch. Visibility was very limited and the stench inside was overwhelming.

Aerial drone footage shot by the Ukrainian military and published on June 17 showed the tank being captured in a wooded area along with a Russian crew. Kyiv's forces then planted a Ukrainian flag on top of it.

(Additional reporting by Ron Popeski; Editing by Sharon Singleton)