A video of a heavy armored tank startling drivers by popping out of nowhere on to a busy road has provoked outrage among Russian internet users. The factory that owns the tank says its driver did not violate any road regulations.
The widely-shared video, taken on Saturday by on-board video recorder, shows an unsuspecting colonnade of cars proceed down a asphalt road in an industrial area in Nizhniy Tagil in the Urals. Just as some cars go past a traffic light, a tank bursts out of the snow at the side of the road, before crossing it at full speed, and vanishing out of view.
“If we hadn’t stopped, the tank would have run us over,” says the voice of the somewhat stunned driver.
Despite internet outrage about the unexpected road intruder, Uralvagonzavod, the maker and owner of the tank, insists the T-90 was only following the rules.
“It’s those cars that passed the traffic lights as they were changing that broke traffic regulations,” said a company representative to RIA Novosti news agency.
“The tank was going past on a green light and had right of way.”
The company went on to explain that although the tank appeared suddenly as if from a snow bank, it was actually traveling down an established route between the factory and the testing range.
The T-90 tank costs upwards to $2 million to buy, and more than 1,500 of them in service around the world.
The potential impact of the tank, which weighs more than 47 tonnes, on an ordinary car, can only be guessed.
The video appears to join a growing tradition of on-board videos showing assorted Russian military equipment unexpectedly appearing in view of terrified road drivers.
Over the past year alone, videos have emerged of a Sukhoi jet and a military helicopter flying just feet above ordinary civilian cars on motorways.