Russian soldier who won tank game killed in Ukraine as real war is different

A Russian world champion who won an international tank warfare competition was sent into real-life battle by Vladimir Putin – only to be killed by Ukrainian fighters.

Bato Basanov took part in war games for top Russian officials and impressively shot without missing a single target at speeds of 50mph in training.

The 25-year-old corporal was previously hailed for "glorifying Russia” as part of his efforts in the tank biathlon.

His Russian T-72B3 team won against soldiers from 19 other countries, including superpower China.

But the bloody battle in Ukraine saw Bato’s luck run out after a missile hit his tank during fighting.

One report from media outlet Volya said: "The death of Bato Basanov is grim confirmation that tank biathlon and real war are completely different things."

It comes as another blow to bonkers Vladimir Putin, who has seen thousands of young Russian men die in fighting and suffered heavy losses to his flagship warships.

The amount of bloodshed has been a surprise to the Russian President, who was reportedly taken-aback by the strength of Ukrainian resistance.

One Russian military expert who had to remain anonymous blamed Putin for botching the modernisation of his tank units.

He said their “shortcomings” left them worse than Ukraine’s older tanks that were upgraded with Western equipment.

According to The Mirror, one heartbroken mum who had to collect the body of her son killed in fighting said he had “come back as a head and two hands”.

She told another grief-stricken parent: “You’re lucky because your son’s body arrived intact.”

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Basanov’s body took seven weeks to arrive back to Russia before his family could have the funeral.

The gunner was praised in a statement by his pals and family as "an open, responsive, very sociable man, a faithful comrade and friend, who was always ready to come to the rescue”.

They added: "Cheerful, smiling and sincere, Bato has always been the pride of our family, a kind, honest, much-loved son."

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