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Saturday, 19 October, 2002, 13:34 GMT 14:34 UK
Ukraine turns tank into tractor
Tank converted into a tractor
The ministry of defence is impressed by the initiative
Visitors to a village in western Ukraine may be surprised at what they see ploughing the fields.

Farm workers in Ternopillya, in the country's Lviv region, have converted an old Soviet tank into a tractor.

"They simply removed all the armaments and attached a plough," Ukrainian TV's Novyy Kanal reports.

The village cooperative bought the tank ten years ago for a third of the price of a tractor.

"In spring, the tank tills the soil, in autumn it ploughs and in winter it clears away the snow," the station reports.

And a nearby tank factory also means that spare parts are not a problem.

Conversion

This is a welcome success story for Ukraine's dilapidated armed forces, whose image has been dented by a series of accidents in recent years.

Tank converted for use on the farm
A nearby tank factory means spare parts are not a problem

And the villagers' initiative has not gone unnoticed by Ukraine's Ministry of Defence, which has been trying to convert the Lviv tank plant to manufacture agricultural machinery.

But it has run into difficulties.

According to Vasyl Ishchuk of the ministry's main vehicles department, efforts are being hampered by the tanks' heavy fuel consumption.

There is also the issue of funding.

After converting about 50 tanks for agricultural use, the Lviv Tractor Works is still waiting to be paid, the TV reports.

BBC Monitoring, based in Caversham in southern England, selects and translates information from radio, television, press, news agencies and the Internet from 150 countries in more than 70 languages.

See also:

16 Apr 02 | Media reports
16 Aug 02 | Media reports
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