Separatists in eastern Ukraine are trying to crank up a 1943-vintage Soviet tank that was part of a World War II memorial in their fight for an independent republic linked to Russia, according to Russian news outlets.
For decades, the IS-3 tank has been sitting on a stone pedestal as a monument in the town of Kostiantynivka, the Russian ITAR-Tass news agency reported last week. (The “IS” stands for the late Soviet dictator Joseph, or Iosif, Stalin.)
The press agency of the so-called Donetsk People’s Republic said that “Our craftsmen have managed to start the engine of the IS-3 tank displayed on a platform in a park,” ITAR-Tass said. “The tank is being prepared and will engage in combat soon.”
Videos of the startup circulating on YouTube suggested that the 12-cylinder, 520-horsepower engine might need some work before it can rumble off the park’s pedestal. The engine screeched and strained, belching out clouds of black smoke before it was shut down.
The IS-3 features a 122mm cannon and in its heyday could do about 22 mph an hour on paved roads, ITAR-Tass said.