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Twenty states ready to take part in Russia’s World Tank Biathlon

January 30, 2014, 20:05 UTC+3 MOSCOW
The final roster of the participating countries in the international tank biathlon will be announced in February
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© ITAR-TASS/Artyom Korotayev

MOSCOW, January 30. /ITAR-TASS/. Defense ministries of 20 countries have accepted Russia’s invitation to compete in the World Championship of Tank Biathlon, which is scheduled to be held outside Moscow this summer, a high-ranking Russian military official said on Thursday.

“Russian Defense Minister Gen. Sergei Shoigu signed official invitations for 41 countries,” Lieutenant General Ivan Buvaltsev, head of the Russian army's main department of combat preparation, said.

“We already have 15 participating countries, which are ready to take part in the competition if Russia provides them with tanks,” Buvaltsev said, adding that five countries agreed to take part in the championship using their own tanks.

The official added that the final roster of the participating countries in the international tank biathlon will be announced in February.

The Russian Defense Ministry reported that 15 states, which want to compete using Russian tanks, are Armenia, Belarus, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Slovenia, Serbia, Israel, Mongolia, Vietnam, India, Angola, Venezuela and Nicaragua.

Ukraine, Greece, the Czech Republic, Italy and China are bringing their own tanks for the championship. According to the ministry, Ukrainian and Chinese tanks will be transported by railway and an estimated cost of the two-way transportation stands at over 4.3 million rubles (over $121,400).

Tanks from Italy, Greece and the Czech Republic are planned to be transported for the championship, which runs between July 26 and August 16, by military cargo aircraft, the ministry said.

The tank biathlon, which is analogous with the Olympic discipline, was invented by the Russian military and the first international competition was held last August in the Moscow suburb of Alabino with the participating crews from Russia, Kazakhstan, Belarus and Armenia.

According to the rules of the tank biathlon, crews must navigate a distance of 20 kilometers (12.5 miles) evading various obstacles, crossing rivers and bridges and shoot at set of targets. Tanks, which miss a target, get a penalty lap.

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