MOSCOW, August 13. /TASS/. The defense ministry of the self-proclaimed Donetsk republic will hold its first-ever tank biathlon contest for local militias and self-defense forces from the neighboring self-proclaimed Luhansk republic, the command of the Donetsk armour units said on Thursday.
"The command of the Donetsk People’s Republic Defense Ministry corps has made a decision to hold the republic’s first ever tank biathlon contest. Tank crews from Donetsk and Luhansk will compete in tank driving skills and fire accuracy," the Donetsk News Agency quotes the report as saying.
The armour units’ spokesman said the contests would be held for improving the tank crews’ combat readiness. The militias will be competing in the rapidity of fire accuracy, target reconnaissance and driving skills.
Tank biathlon is a contest for tank crews competing in driving armored vehicles and accuracy of fire. Of late, it was gaining ever-greater popularity in some post-Soviet countries. It is believed to be a brainchild of Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu.
The first international competition was held in August 2013 in Alabino, a town to the southwest of Moscow, with participating crews from Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Russia. According to the rules of tank biathlon, crews must navigate a distance of up to 20 kilometres (12.5 miles) negotiating various obstacles, crossing rivers and bridges and shooting at a set of targets. Tanks that miss a target get a penalty lap.