Over the weekend, a short video showing a Ukrainian farmer using his tractor to "steal" a Russian armored personnel carrier (APC) went viral on social media. It has been viewed more than 4.6 million times. While the legitimacy of the video hasn't been confirmed, one fact is absolutely clear: the farmer won't have to pay taxes on captured Russian military hardware, including tanks.
While it may sound like a headline from The Babylon Bee or The Onion, on Tuesday Ukraine's National Agency for the Protection against Corruption (NAPC) declared that captured Russian tanks and other equipment are not subject to declaration.
"Have you captured a Russian tank or armored personnel carrier and are worried about how to declare it? Keep calm and continue to defend the Motherland! There is no need to declare the captured Russian tanks and other equipment, because the cost of this ... does not exceed 100 living wages (UAH 248,100)," NAPC's press service said in a statement to the Interfax Ukraine news agency.
In addition, the NAPC said there is no need in this case to submit reports of significant changes in property status within ten days.
"Speaking by the letter of the law, combat trophies are not subject to reflection in the declaration for the following reasons: they were acquired not as a result of the conclusion of any type of transaction, but in connection with the full-scale aggression of the Russian Federation on February 24, 2022 against the independent and sovereign Ukrainian state as a continuation the insidious attack of the Russian Federation on Ukraine launched in 2014. Thanks to the courage and victory of the defenders of the Ukrainian state, enemy military equipment usually comes to you already destroyed and disabled, which makes it impossible to evaluate it in accordance with the law on the valuation of property, property rights and professional valuation activities in Ukraine. Therefore, it is also impossible to find out how much such property costs," the NACP added.
The Ukrainian people have heroically stood up to the invasion, and while the government has supplied machine guns and other small arms to those willing to fight, more primitive methods are being employed to stop the Russian tanks.
The Ukrainian military has already instructed citizens to prepare gasoline bombs, more commonly known as "Molotov cocktails," to help slow the Russian invasion. Video shared on social media showed the weapons being distributed to Ukrainians willing to defend their homeland.
Though few Ukrainians may be as lucky as the farmer who stole the APC, it is worth noting that there is a serious collector's market for tanks. Russian T-72 main battle tanks (MBTs) regularly sell for around $50,000 to $70,000 today, while T-90s are still sold by Russia for around $4.5 million. Of course, the ultimate score would be a T-14 Armata, a tank that of course has never been offered for private sale. Certainly a collector–if not a NATO member's intelligence agency–would likely pay millions for such a vehicle.
Peter Suciu is a Michigan-based writer who has contributed to more than four dozen magazines, newspapers and websites. He regularly writes about military small arms, and is the author of several books on military headgear including A Gallery of Military Headdress, which is available on Amazon.com.