An elderly man miraculously survived being run over by a tank in Kyiv. The viral video posted Friday, Feb. 25, 2022, shows rescuers attempting to get the man out of his mangled vehicle. Photo courtesy of Twitter.
A tanklike armored vehicle rolled over the top of a fleeing civilian vehicle in Ukraine’s capital city of Kyiv, trapping the elderly driver inside.
Incredibly, the man survived — though his car did not — and was pulled from the wreckage by bystanders.
The incident, caught on tape from several directions on a major thoroughfare of Kyiv, occurred as an ambush targeting a military transport truck took place directly across the street.
The armored vehicle appears to be a Strela-10 or SA-13 “Gopher,” a weapon known to generations of US pilots as a fearsome anti-aircraft missile system. The system is believed to have shot down two A-10s during Desert Storm, killing one pilot.
— Ahmed W B (@Ahmed_WB) February 25, 2022
Nearby residents in the Obolon district of Kyiv captured the stunning footage from multiple vantage points and released it on various social media channels on the morning of Friday, Feb. 25. The videographers gasp in disbelief as the tank appears to swerve into the car before reversing and leaving the area.
The incident took place following an ambush that targeted a military transport truck. The Daily Mail reports two Russian servicemen dressed in military fatigues are shown in a video being shot and killed in a skirmish with Ukrainian forces.
When the soldiers left the area, several men rushed to the crumpled car. A video released to Twitter by Ukrainian journalist Alexander Khrebet shows a scene where men use their bare hands to pull and tug on the car to free the disoriented man.
Other citizens are seen using hammers and crowbars to pry the wrecked car’s metal away.
— Aleph א #IStandWithUkraine ?? (@no_itsmyturn) February 25, 2022
“I saw an armored vehicle and there was automatic fire,” said Kyiv resident Viktor Berbash, 58, according to the New York Post. “And here this car, with probably an anti-aircraft gun on it, was already here.”
Both the Ukrainian and Russian armies have large fleets of SA-13s, though the hulking vehicles are not designed to invade or attack ground targets on their own and would be little use roving the streets of a hostile city. Instead, anti-aircraft weapons usually move with or behind tanks, infantry, and other direct ground combat elements, providing cover from air attacks as the forces advance toward a city.
Berbash claimed the actions were deliberate.
“It was not by chance, it was for fun, there was no need for this,” Berbash said. “And it just ran into this car. Stopped, reversed over it again and drove on.”
“The protection of the civilian population must be a priority,” the UN Human Rights Twitter page quoted UN Human Rights Chief Michelle Bachelet as saying. “The use of explosive weapons in populated areas should, at all costs, be avoided.”
Matt Fratus is a history staff writer for Coffee or Die. He prides himself on uncovering the most fascinating tales of history by sharing them through any means of engaging storytelling. He writes for his micro-blog @LateNightHistory on Instagram, where he shares the story behind the image. He is also the host of the Late Night History podcast. When not writing about history, Matt enjoys volunteering for One More Wave and rooting for Boston sports teams.
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Zelenskyy said on his Telegram channel the weapon was produced by Ukraine’s Ministry of Strategic Industries but gave no other details.
South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said in a statement that the launch occurred Wednesday but gave no further details, such as how far the missile flew.