Ukraine Says Citizens Can Keep Captured Russian Vehicles Tax-Free

Ukrainian forces and civilians have captured significant amounts of equipment from the invading Russian army.

byLewin Day|
Culture photo

The Russian invasion in Ukraine has now been raging for almost a week, having met stiff resistance on all fronts from a potent and capable defense. Amidst the chaos, resourceful Ukrainian civilians have taken the initiative to capture Russian military hardware all over the country. Noting the extraordinary events, Ukraine's National Agency for the Protection Against Corruption (NAPC) has announced that any captured Russian tanks or other hardware are not subject to declaration for taxation purposes, as reported by Interfax.

In a public statement posted on Facebook and elsewhere, the government body pulls no punches. Translated to English, it reads "Have you captured a Russian tank or armored personnel carrier and are worried how to declare it? Keep calm and continue to defend the Motherland! There is no need to declare the captured Russian tanks and other equipment, because the cost of this shit does not exceed 100 living wages (UAH 248,100)."

Furthermore, the NAPC states that such articles are not subject to declaration as "they were acquired not as a result of making some kind of law, but in connection with the full-scale aggression of 24.02.2022 of the Russian Federation," and that as the Russian hardware "usually comes into your possession already destroyed," it is therefore impossible to assess its value for taxation purposes. 

Obviously, few on the ground would genuinely be thinking of taxes when dealing with a foreign superpower invading their homeland. The statement is very much a middle finger to the forces attempting to occupy Ukraine, intended as a galvanizing statement that helps remind the citizens of Ukraine that they have been defying all odds in the fight thus far. It's a hallmark of the defiant attitude of the Ukrainian people in the face of unprecedented aggression from the Kremlin. 

Slightly more serious in tone is the NAPC's post that citizens need not worry about declaring donation funds received for the aid of the army and victims of the war. Translated, the organization posted that "This money is not your personal income, but is instead a manifestation of the unity and solidarity of the Ukrainian people." It's a regular theme the organization has posted on since the beginning of the war, reiterating that Ukrainians "should not waste time filing tax paperwork," imploring that the key was "First victory - then declaration." 

As covered by The War Zone, significant numbers of Russian vehicles have been captured by Ukrainian civilians thus far. Past days have revealed everything from a group of Ukrainians driving a freshly-stolen Russian tank through a field, to tractors towing away surface-to-air missile systems belonging to the invaders.

Many Russian military vehicles have also been abandoned during the conflict, raising questions as to the invading army's morale and supplies. Working tanks have been found abandoned with full fuel tanks, while others have become mired in the thick mud so common in Ukraine as the land thaws out in the spring. 

Indeed, this mud has proven particularly challenging for the invading forces. It's been cited as a primary reason for Russia's huge convoy of military hardware that has been stalled on the way to Kyiv for several days now. Speculation is that the Russian vehicles are stuck to using roads as their vehicles cannot traverse the muddy ground. Photos have been released of Russian missile systems throwing tires from their rims, suggestive of issues of poor maintenance and dry rot, or poor-quality knockoff tires of Chinese or Belarusian make.  

The logistical issues of Russian forces have been welcome news for the defenders of Ukraine, as has the fact that Russia has still failed to establish air superiority. However, the situation remains fraught. Cities have been under heavy shelling and civilian casualties are mounting, with concerns that food supplies could become stretched in Ukraine's cities.

On Thursday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky once again pled for a no-fly zone to be established over the country to help reduce civilian deaths. "If you can't give Ukrainians a date, how long do you need?" asked Zelensky, adding "How many people should be blown up?"

NATO has thus far resisted these calls, largely out of fear that putting NATO aircraft in direct conflict with Russian forces could spark nuclear war. Some Western politicians are beginning to question that assumption, however. "We should have more confidence in ourselves managing these cold war high-stakes scenarios," UK Conservative MP Tobias Ellwood said, "rather than hesitating only to face up to a bigger battle in the future.”

Russia's hopes of a quick and easy war have been brutally frustrated by a concerted Ukrainian defense, but an end to the conflict is yet to appear in sight. A second round of talks ended today without resolution, but what remains clear is that the people of Ukraine are more than willing to defend their homeland, and they aren't shy about saying so.

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