Ukrainian Farmers in Tractors Are Driving Away With Russia’s Armor

March 1, 2022Noelle Wiehe
Ukrainian tractors

An undated video circulating on social media Monday, Feb. 28, 2022, appears to show a Ukrainian tractor towing away a Russian 9K33 OSA short-range surface-to-air missile system — what NATO calls the SA-8 “Gecko.” Screenshot from Twitter.

Amid the horror of Putin’s war on Ukraine, there’s laughter, some of it apparently triggered by farmers hooking their tractors to abandoned Russian armored vehicles and driving away with them.

A video that began circulating on social media on Feb. 27 shows a blue tractor dragging what looks to be an unmanned Russian armored personnel carrier down an unpaved road. 

In the shaky footage, someone can be heard guffawing as the vehicle — perhaps part of the Boyevaya Mashina Pekhoty family of mechanized infantry carriers, or BMPs — is stolen from a military once feared as one of the most powerful on the planet.

An undated video circulating on social media on Feb. 27, 2022, shows a blue tractor dragging what looks to be an unmanned Russian armored personnel carrier down an unpaved road in Ukraine. Screenshot from Twitter.

In his acerbic commentary, Johnny Mercer, a veteran British artillery officer and former parliamentary under-secretary of state for defense people and veterans, joked that he’s no expert, “but the invasion doesn’t seem to be going particularly well. Ukrainian tractor steals Russian APC today.”

On Monday, another video surfaced that seems to show a different tractor hauling off a Russian 9K33 OSA short-range surface-to-air missile system — what NATO calls the SA-8 “Gecko.”

Not to be outdone by these two tractor drivers, a third video appears to show the Sunday heist of the Gecko as seen by a trailing car.

A salty f-bomb-laden play-by-play commentary delivered by a car driver and his passenger pairs well with the footage of the purloined Gecko. The two men muse that the farmer is taking the Russian vehicle to the scrapyard to get a nice price for the metal. They also joke that the self-propelled-missile carrier can be converted to haul logs.

Coffee or Die Magazine can’t independently verify that Ukrainian farmers were behind the wheels of the tractors, or if the Russians later regained the allegedly filched equipment. But the video showing the apparent theft of the anti-aircraft system features a blue and yellow Ukrainian flag affixed to the front of the tractor, suggesting a patriotic motive for the heist.

The videos join a parade of footage from the social-media-saturated battlefield over the past week, including a Russian vehicle pancaking a Ukrainian civilian’s car; what appears to be a Russian tank and self-propelled gun stuck in peat muck; and a Ukrainian driver coming across a BMP with its fuel run dry.

“Can I tow you back to Russia?” the Ukrainian asks.

Read Next: Is the Mighty Mriya Dead or Lost in the Fog of Russia’s War on Ukraine?


Noelle Wiehe
Noelle Wiehe

Noelle is a former staff writer for Coffee or Die through a fellowship from Military Veterans in Journalism. She has a bachelor’s degree in journalism and interned with the US Army Cadet Command. Noelle also worked as a civilian journalist covering several units, including the 75th Ranger Regiment on Fort Benning, before she joined the military as a public affairs specialist.

More from Coffee or Die Magazine
eric smith marine corps commandant nominee
Highly Decorated Marine Officer Nominated To Be Next Commandant

President Joe Biden has nominated a highly decorated Marine officer who has been involved in the transformation of the force to be the next Marine Corps commandant.

USS Arizona
Profile of a Ship: USS Arizona

When the USS Arizona sank, it took 1,177 crew members with it. Today it remains beneath the water as a memorial to all those who lost their lives at Pearl Harbor.

b1 bombers bosnia
US Bombers Fly Over Bosnia in Sign of Support Amid Continued Secessionist Threats

A pair of U.S. Air Force B-1B Lancer bombers flew low over Sarajevo and several other Bosnian cities...

SR-71 Blackbird
SR-71 Blackbird: The Spy Plane That Could Outrun Missiles

Lockheed Martin’s SR-71 Blackbird was a government secret for years. Now retired, a newer version plans to take its place.

medal of honor recipient remains returned
Missing 73 Years, Medal of Honor Recipient's Remains Return To Georgia

Soldiers of the 9th Infantry Regiment made a desperate retreat as North Korean troops closed in arou...

dear jack
Dear Jack: My Battalion Is Out of Control

In this installment of “Dear Jack,” Marine veteran and amateur life coach Jack Mandaville advises a lieutenant colonel on how to restore order in the lower ranks.

Medal of Honor
Medal of Honor: A Long and Epic History

For more than 150 years, the Medal of Honor has been used to recognize acts of extraordinary battlefield courage performed in service to the United States.

  • About Us
  • Privacy Policy
  • Careers
Contact Us
  • Request a Correction
  • Write for Us
  • General Inquiries
© 2023 Coffee or Die Magazine. All Rights Reserved