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As Russia invades Ukraine, the news is flooded with violence and tragedies. At the same time, the determination of the resourceful Ukrainian people fills the airwaves with hope. And sometimes, laughter. One example is the clever ways Ukrainian farms are finding to “liberate” Russian tanks with their diesel powered John Deere tractors.

Can a New Holland tractor tow a Russian tank?

In the video below, a Ukrainian farmer is using a blue and white tractor that appears to be a New Holland to tow a Russian tank down the road. The tank’s hatches are open and, obviously, it is in neutral. Best of all, it appears that a Russian soldier is running along behind the tank like a city driver who forgot to pay the parking meter. Check it out:

The tractor looks like at least a 70 horsepower model outfitted with a cab. Despite the size of the tractor, towing a tank is a tall order. The tractor driver must have started out in low range; even if he was able to shift up to Lo/4 while on the fly, he is driving slower than the running soldier.

The man running after the tractor appears angry. That said, he does not appear to be wearing a uniform or carrying a gun. If he is indeed a soldier, let’s hope the tractor driver got away safely.

Incredibly, this is not the only time a Ukrainian farmer helped “liberate” a Russian tank.

Can a John Deere tractor tow a Russian tank?

Large 4WD John Deere tractor parked in a barn.
John Deere tractor | Julia Koblitz via Unsplash

In the first clip of this next video, Ukrainian farmers are determined to move another captured Russian tank. The Russian crew must have abandoned the vehicle or been captured, because they are nowhere to be seen. This tank, with its large gun turret, is too heavy for one tractor to tow. The resourceful Ukrainians have hitched two tractors up to it in tandem. The green and yellow tractors appear to be older John Deere’s.

In the video above you can see several different types of tractors towing several different Russian vehicles. It is unclear exactly who is operating these tractors. In the second clip, someone has painted a letter “Z” on the tractor towing the vehicle, like Russians paint on many of their military trucks. Conceivably this tractor could have been commandeered by Russian soldiers to tow damaged tanks.

In the fifth clip it appears that Ukrainians have liberated a 9K33 OSA misile launch system. This is a 6×6 amphibious vehicle the Soviet Union has been using as a missile platform since 1971.

What will Ukrainian farmers do with the Russian tanks?

Some of the Ukrainian tractor drivers may be transporting their liberated Russian tanks to the Ukrainian military to hand them over. Other farmers are rumored to be simply collecting tanks as war trophies. At some point, the Ukrainians may want to drive these tanks under their own power. Thanks to the magic of the internet, they may be able to do exactly that. A Russian TikToker named Martina Rodriguez has recorded a video tutorial on how to operate a Russian tank:


TikTok influencer explains how to operate abandoned Russian tanks…

♬ original sound – martinrockdriguez

Rumor has it that Martina is explaining how to operate an abandoned tank for the benefit of the Ukrainian people. But the truth is that Ms. Rodriguez has an entire collection of videos showing how to drive various exotic cars and pieces of machinery, including tanks. She recorded these videos before the Russian invasion of Ukraine.


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