Russia

Ukraine: What is Russia's Terminator vehicle?

Russia only has a handful of Terminator vehicles but is now thrusting them into battle in Moscow's push for Luhansk.

Russia has deployed one of its most advanced armoured vehicles to Ukraine for the first time.

The Terminator is designed particularly for urban combat, comes with the protection of a main battle tank and is designed to destroy enemy bunkers and infantry positions.

Now, the Terminator 2 has been spotted in the Donbas, with its arrival seen as an attempt to bolster the Kremlin's forces for a final push to take Luhansk.

Military Analyst Justin Crump, a former Tank Commander, told Forces News the Terminator 2 "should shrug off anti-armour weapons that would destroy a lighter-skinned vehicle".

"It's really optimised to suppress the upper stories of buildings, put down a high rate of fire and cover those angles so the tanks can focus on the fight down the street, where they can bring firepower to bear that way without having to look all the directions you can't look when you're closed down in a tank," Mr Crump said.

The Terminator has been around since 2005 and is based on the hulls of the T-72 tank.

The version being used in Ukraine is known as the T2.

It carries a three-person crew and is armed with anti-tank missiles, a pair of 30mm cannons and a 7.62mm machine-gun.

Watch: About one-third of the Russian forces used to invade Ukraine have been 'written down'.

Developed after taking heavy losses in Afghanistan and Chechnya, the trouble for Russian forces is they are only reported to have nine of the Terminator 2s.

Mr Crump told Forces News Russia has deployed the Terminator unit "towards Severodonetsk" to support its tanks in what is expected to be a bitter urban battle.

"What's really interesting is it shows the Russian focus on Severodonetsk, which is the last part of Luhansk they don't control," he said.

"I think the real reason we've been talking about this equipment this week is it's a signature piece that shows a focus on an urban battle in the city – which you can see they're advancing towards now."

There isn't really a direct NATO equivalent to the Terminator, with neither the Americans' M3 Cavalry Fighting Vehicle or the Stryker strictly a tank support vehicle like the Terminator.  

It comes as reports suggest Ukrainian forces are continuing to destroy Russian tanks with Javelins and Brimstone.