Kyiv auto repair shop adapts captured Russian weapons for local forces

A charred Russian tank and captured tanks are seen, amid Russia's invasion of Ukraine, in the Sumy region, Ukraine, March 7, 2022. Irina Rybakova/Press service of the Ukrainian Ground Forces/Handout via REUTERS

KYIV, March 14 (Reuters) - A Kyiv auto mechanics workshop has jumped from car repairs and maintenance to adapting captured Russian weapons for use by Ukrainian troops defending the capital.

Oleksandr Fedchenko said he had been throwing around ideas with staff at his car repair shop after Russia launched its invasion of Ukraine last month, wondering how they could help outgunned local forces.

"It turned out that there are people working at our shop who know how weapons work," he said.

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Ukrainian forces have stripped large quantities of Russian heavy machine guns and other weapons from armoured vehicles they have destroyed in the three weeks since the Kremlin launched what it called a special military operation in Ukraine.

But removing their mountings and adapting them for use by troops fighting on foot requires the expertise of specialist mechanics.

"We collected a team of welders, engineers. We gave them drafts, we familiarized ourselves with the drafts. We made a prototype model and it worked," Fedchenko said.

Ukrainian forces have been forced to adapt quickly and have managed to slow the advance of Russian troops pressing the capital Kyiv despite being outgunned on paper.

"We will remake those weapons so that the barrels will be directed to the enemy's side, but not ours," Fedchenko said.

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Writing by James Mackenzie; Editing by Lisa Shumaker

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