25-year-old Russian tank commander, crowned world’s best in international war games, killed after being sent to Ukraine

A Russian “HERO” world champion in an international tank warfare competition was killed when sent by Vladimir Putin into a real battle in Ukraine.

Bato Basanov, 25, from Buryatia, was part of a record-breaking tank biathlon team that performed in war games last year in front of Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu and the Chief of Staff of the army Valery Gerasimov.

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Bato Basanov’s conflict ended in death when his tank was hit in Ukraine1 credit: East2West
Bato Basanov, 25, winner of the World Tank Biathlon-2021, died in March 2022

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Bato Basanov, 25, winner of the World Tank Biathlon-2021, died in March 20221 credit: East2West
Basanov from Buryatia, was part of a record tank biathlon team that performed last year

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Basanov from Buryatia, was part of a record tank biathlon team that performed last year1 credit: East2West

But his conflict ended in death when his tank was hit in Ukraine.

He is the latest of dozens of men from his impoverished region about 3,500 miles east of Moscow to be killed in Putin’s war.

Basanov, a corporal, was hailed last year for having “glorified Russia by becoming world champion in tank biathlon within his team”.

Uniquely, he fired without missing a single target at speeds of up to 50 mph at the Alabino training ground in the Moscow region.

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Yet, as a report by Volya Media put it: “The death of Bato Basanov is a grim confirmation that tank biathlon and real warfare are completely different things.”

Basanov – whose Russian T-72B3 team has beaten soldiers from 19 countries in fighting games, including China – was introduced to Gerasimov, now in charge of Putin’s restless war effort.

Yet an unnamed Russian military expert blamed Putin’s government for botched modernization of the tanks, leaving them worse in optics and targeting technology than older Ukrainian tanks that were upgraded with Western equipment.

He said, “Combat training in [Russian] tank units is disgusting.”

The “gaps” led to Russia’s poor performance in the war, he said.

Basanov was a gunner in the 1st Company of the Tank Battalion of the 37th Guards Separate Motorized Rifle Brigade of the Russian Air Defense Forces.

The body of the “hero” took seven weeks to be recovered and returned to his family for a sinful funeral on Friday.

His friends and family said in a joint statement: “Bato was an open, responsive, very sociable man, a faithful comrade and friend, always ready to come to the rescue.

“Playful, smiling and sincere, Bato has always been the pride of our family, a kind, honest and much loved son.”

The number of Putin commanders who have lost their lives in Ukraine continues to rise, in a crushing blow for the Russian leader.

Basanov’s death comes after Putin lost his ninth general while fighting in Ukraine following an attack on a military base.

Major General Andrei Simonov became the last commander-in-chief to die in action.

Simonov, head of the 2nd Combined Arms Army, was reportedly killed near the town of Izyum in the northeastern region of Kharkiv, the Kyiv Post reports.

Footage shared on social media appears to show the strike of a salvo of rockets.

The attack also reportedly destroyed more than 30 Russian armored vehicles, including tanks.

Presidential adviser Oleksiy Arestovych said in an interview that around 100 Russians were killed in the attack, including Simonov.

The Kyiv Independent estimates that Russian forces have lost more than 25,000 soldiers since the start of the war.

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Putin’s invasion of Ukraine did not go as planned, with the Kremlin suffering severe casualties as the conflict rages on.

Mad Vlad – who is said to have “cancer” – was forced to cut the parade by a third according to the figures.

The body of the “hero” took seven weeks to be recovered and returned to his family

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The body of the “hero” took seven weeks to be recovered and returned to his family1 credit: East2West
Basanov pictured with his family

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Basanov pictured with his family1 credit: East2West

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